NEWS ABOUT: Fourth Amendment

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US Uses Border Searches to Seize Devices: Manning Ally

Technique allows warrantless search of electronics

(Newser) - If you cross in to or out of the US, the government might seize your electronic devices—whether it's got a warrant or not. David House, a fundraiser for Chelsea Manning's legal defense fund, found that out the hard way in November 2010, after a trip to Mexico.... More »

Judge Rules 'Stop and Frisk' Unconstitutional

She appoints independent monitor to watch NYPD

(Newser) - The NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy violates New Yorkers' Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, a federal judge declared today. Judge Shira A. Sheindlin said she would appoint an independent lawyer to monitor the NYPD and ensure it didn't continue the policy, or otherwise behave unconstitutionally. The... More »

Court: Feds Can Track Your Location Without a Warrant

But in another case, government says it must admit NSA spying to defendants

(Newser) - The federal government can grab GPS data indicating where you've been directly from your phone carrier without a warrant, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday, saying that the practice was "not per se unconstitutional." Technically, that data is a "business record," meaning... More »

Supreme Court Upholds DNA Swabs of Those Under Arrest

Not a violation of 4th Amendment

(Newser) - DNA swabbing the cheek of a person arrested—but not yet convicted—for a "serious offense" is just as acceptable as fingerprinting and photographing that person, the Supreme Court ruled today. Such DNA swabs do not violate a person's Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches, the justices found.... More »

IRS Might Be Peeking at Emails Without Warrants

ACLU calls for a clear explanation of policy

(Newser) - It's probably not wise to talk about all your deep, dark tax-dodging secrets via email, but if you do, know that the IRS might be poking into them without a warrant. So says the ACLU, which complains that it can't get a straight answer from the agency about... More »

DC Can Be Bipartisan —to Trash 4th Amendment

Congress will let the feds keep spying on Americans: Alex Pareene

(Newser) - Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a budget, how to avoid the fiscal cliff, gun control, or much of anything, but there's apparently one thing they can agree on—trashing the Fourth Amendment. Yes, despite Washington's all-consuming dysfunction, the parties have come together to renew the FISA Amendment... More »

Supreme Court Needs to Rein In Dog Searches

We need better restrictions on how far police can go: Jeffrey Meyer

(Newser) - It may not be the most high-profile issue on this year's Supreme Court docket, but two cases coming up later this month have the potential to affect our privacy in profound ways, writes Jeffrey A. Meyer in the New York Times . Both involve police dogs, and how far authorities... More »

Law Prof: Jay-Z's Lyrical Legal Advice Is Wrong

Don't let '99 Problems' be your guide

(Newser) - Jay-Z's smash hit "99 Problems" may be fun to listen to, but don't get your legal advice from it. The rapper's perspective on the law is way off in parts, says a professor who authored a law review article analyzing the lyrics line by line. "... More »

Supreme Court Bans Warrantless GPS Tracking

Obama administration had argued that tracking cars didn't constitute a search

(Newser) - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that the government must obtain a warrant before secretly affixing a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car. The case stemmed from an incident in which the FBI placed a tracker on a DC drug dealer's car, with the Obama administration arguing... More »

Judge Orders Florida to Stop Welfare Drug Tests

Says it will likely be ruled unconstitutional

(Newser) - A federal judge has ordered Florida to suspend its “suspicionless drug testing” of would-be welfare recipients, writing that “there is a substantial likelihood” that the law requiring such tests will be deemed unconstitutional. The ruling comes thanks to an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of one welfare recipient—an... More »

US Wrote Secret Memo to Let It Kill a Citizen

50-page memo said killing only ok if could not capture

(Newser) - The secret memo that allowed the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last month justified his killing as legal because he could not be captured alive, reports the New York Times . Completed in June 2010, the 50-page memo also was written narrowly, to deny the general targeted killings... More »

Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Ashcroft

He did not misuse power, justices agree in 8-0 vote

(Newser) - John Ashcroft is off the hook. The Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit against the former attorney general in an 8-0 vote today, finding that he did not misuse his power or violate the 4th Amendment. American Muslim Abdullah al-Kidd sued after being arrested at Dulles Airport and held for... More »

Strip Search of Middle School Student Illegal: Supremes

(Newser) - An Arizona middle school's strip search of a teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal, the Supreme Court ruled today. School officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding, the justices said in an 8-1 ruling. Redding, who now attends college, was 13 when school officials... More »

Court: Cops Wrong to Tape Man's Sex With Comatose Wife

Privacy law violated in sexual assault case

(Newser) - A Wisconsin court today threw out evidence against a man police videotaped having sex with his comatose wife in her nursing-home room, the AP reports, arguing that authorities violated his constitutional rights. The court ruled that David Johnson, 59, who’s been charged with felony sexual assault, had an expectation... More »

Illegal Search Rule Faces New Challenge

US is the only country to automatically reject unlawful evidence

(Newser) - America is the only country in the world where evidence—even a carload of narcotics—is automatically suppressed if the police are found to have acted wrongly in acquiring it, writes the New York Times. Courts in other countries weigh the level of police misconduct with the gravity of the... More »

Bush Threw Out 4th Amendment After 9/11

Newly revealed Yoo memo voided search and seizure protections

(Newser) - Just a month after Sept. 11, 2001, the Justice Department concluded that anti-terror military operations on US soil were not constrained by the Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure. The conclusion was detailed in a memo written by John Yoo, the theorist behind many of President Bush's expansions of... More »

Cheney Resists Testifying in 'Attack' Lawsuit

Alleged attacker wants veep to clear up encounter in court

(Newser) - A man collared on suspicion of assaulting Dick Cheney two years ago wants the veep to testify in court—but is it likely? Cheney would only have to if his testimony is unobtainable by other means, one expert said—exactly what Cheney's lawyer argued last week in court. But one... More »

Big Brother May Be Tracking Your Cell Phone

Judges are turning over tracking data from phones without probable cause

(Newser) - Federal investigators pursuing drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects often get court orders to obtain tracking data from cell phones, and they're frequently granted the orders without showing probable cause. That worries privacy advocates, especially in light of the fact that new cell phone services are providing an unprecedented... More »

Fed Judge Rules Against Patriot Act

Nixes two key provisions that allow secret search without probable cause

(Newser) - Key provisions of the Patriot Act allowing secret searches have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. In the case of Portland lawyer Brandon Mayfield, whose home and office were secretly raided after he was mistakenly linked to bombings in Madrid, a US District judge found that search warrants were... More »

Court Says Past Travels Not Private

Cops don't need probable cause to grab old cell records

(Newser) - A federal court has ruled that one’s historic whereabouts are not protected by the Fourth Amendment, and that the government doesn't need to show probable cause to access old cell phone records. Authorities only have to claim the information is “relevant to an ongoing investigation,” Computerworld reports,... More »

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