On Wired's Threat Level: Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real Time:
Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.
The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.
For credit cards, agents can get real-time information on a person’s purchases by writing their own subpoena, followed up by a order from a judge that the surveillance not be disclosed. Agents can also go the traditional route — going to a judge, proving probable cause and getting a search warrant — which means the target will eventually be notified they were spied on.
The search warrant here was for evidence that defendant was unlawfully seeking refugee status in the U.S. but was a combatant in the Bosnian war. “[A]n agent’s opinion and experience combined with circumstantial evidence has been found to provide probable cause to search a residence. See United States v. Jenkins, 901 F.2d 1075, 1081 (11th Cir. 1990) ... [¶] Additionally, several similar search warrants issued in investigations of Bosnian ex-military immigrants show that courts have found a spectrum of direct and opinion evidence sufficient to establish probable cause.” United States v. Zekic, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126619 (N.D. Ga. October 28, 2010).*
The affidavit for the two search warrants showed probable cause for the place to be searched, and, even if it didn’t, the good faith exception would apply. United States v. Washington, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126574 (E.D. Mich. December 1, 2010).*
While defendant was handcuffed and in custody, which alone is not enough under Watson to show a lack of voluntariness, he was otherwise cooperative and consented. United States v. Solorzano, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126663 (E.D. La. December 1, 2010).*
For probable cause in a child pornography search warrant, the officers do not have to show that defendant actually downloaded it or that the people in the images were actually under 18. The affidavit could have better recited that the officer knew child porn when he saw it based on his experience, but this was not fatal to the warrant. United States v. Lyon, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126753 (E.D. Tenn. November 15, 2010).*
The tasering of plaintiff was unreasonable on these facts because it was unjustified and excessive force. As of the date of the occurrence, there was no case definitively holding that tasering was unreasonable under facts like these. Therefore, the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. Bryan v. Macpherson, 630 F.3d 805 (9th Cir. 2010).*
Defendant’s arrest was based on probable cause, and he had no standing to challenge the discarded evidence from the person of a codefendant. United States v. Acon, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125552 (D. Minn. November 15, 2010), adopted 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125680 (D. Minn. November 29, 2010).*
The CI’s in this case were arrestees seeking favorable treatment, so they had no presumption of reliability. They were corroborated, so probable cause was shown. United States v. Williams, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125717 (E.D. Wis. November 2, 2010).*
The video does not overcome Officer Madison's testimony and is not enough to demonstrate that the record preponderates against the trial court's findings of fact. State v. Hewitt, 2010 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 1005 (November 29, 2010).*
The record supports the fact finding and the conclusion there was reasonable suspicion for defendant’s stop. The stop being valid, his confession is too. Peralta v. State, 338 S.W.3d 598 (Tex. App. – El Paso 2010).*
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Kentucky v. King, 131 S.Ct. 1849, 179 L.Ed.2d 865 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
Camreta v. Greene, 131 S.Ct. 2020, 179 L.Ed.2d 1118 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
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Davis v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2419, 180 L.Ed.2d 285 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having
and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and
safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)