Posse Comitatus and the Fourth Amendment

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 7:35 am

Back in pre-Constitution America, the British army would burst into the homes and businesses of American colonists.
The searches would often be destructive, and intended so. Some of the time the point was to seize incriminating “revolutionary” materials, many times the point was simply to harass and threaten people the Crown feared and wanted to send a message to. It was in direct response to such invasions of freedom that the Founders wrote in the Fourth Amendment “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

 

US Supreme Court to Police: “Get a Warrant” Before Searching Cell Phones

By: Wednesday June 25, 2014 3:15 pm

The United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision instructing police that they must get a warrant if they want to search an arrested person’s cell phone.

“Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion.

Federal Appeals Court: Warrant for Cell Phone Location Data Is Required Under Fourth Amendment

By: Wednesday June 11, 2014 6:00 pm

A federal appeals court has ruled that “cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy” and that gathering such information without a warrant violates a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Surveillance State Unchecked: Secret Spy Court Rejected Zero Requests in 2012

By: Thursday May 2, 2013 6:30 pm

An annual report to the United States Senate by the Justice Department shows the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not deny one single request made to the court by federal law enforcement. All applications to conduct electronic surveillance or “physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes” were granted.

Homeland Security’s Failed Attempt to Pervert the Freedom of Information Act Process

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 11:30 am

Over a week ago, a federal judge ruled documents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was ordered to produce in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit could not be subjected to a protective order.

The development has received minimal attention, but the case seems important, as the government sought to use an innovative tactic to provide documents it owed an organization while at the same time preventing the public from reading the documents. Had the judge allowed the protective order or “clawback,” it would have been a complete perversion of FOIA.

Judge Clears Federal Officials of Wrongdoing in Harsh Confinement of Muslims Immediately After 9/11

By: Friday January 18, 2013 9:16 am

A federal judge dismissed complaints in a lawsuit alleging former Justice Department officials violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants in the immediate months after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, sought to hold the officials accountable for subjecting the immigrants to harsh confinement on the basis of their race, national origin and religion. Still, the judge allowed claims of violations against prison staff to proceed.

Government’s Request for Stay in NDAA Lawsuit Shows Smug Arrogance of Executive Power

By: Tuesday September 18, 2012 10:31 am

A federal appeals court judge granted the government a stay against a federal judge’s ruling permanently enjoining a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed last year and granted the military the legal authority to indefinitely detain persons. Lawyers from the Justice Department under Obama argued they needed an emergency stay because the injunction appears to be “worldwide in its effect, intruding upon military operations in the ongoing armed conflict against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces.”

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