The Oregonian: Eugene verdict clarifies legal protections for protesters who turn video cameras on police by Bryan Denson:
Camcorders, smart phones and live-streaming gizmos bob atop seas of demonstrators these days in Oregon, often capturing hostilities between police and demonstrators from various angles.
State law permits protesters to record police in public places. But courts have made few rulings on what officers can do with the recording devices they seize from people during arrests.
The rules of engagement became clearer in Eugene's U.S. District Court last week, when a civil jury determined that a city police sergeant violated an environmental activist's constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure during a 2009 leafletting campaign outside a bank.
[Note: This is so obvious, there is no qualified immunity. It isn't even close.]
Whether or not the parole officer violated the parole officer’s field manual really doesn’t matter if the search otherwise complied with the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Wade, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11552 (N.D. Ga. January 31, 2012).*
Plaintiff was a potential suspect under the suspect exception of the Privacy Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000aa(a)(1). Her status as a photojournalist did not automatically protect her under the Act. Sennett v. United States, 667 F.3d 531 (4th Cir. 2012) (unpublished).
The trial court’s incomplete findings of fact left the appellate court unsure how it was applying the facts in crediting defendant (no violations of the law) or the officer (three traffic offenses). The fact that the trial court applied a reasonable suspicion standard rather than a probable cause standard suggested either that the trial court misapplied the law or disbelieved some or all of defendant’s testimony. The law that applied depended upon whose version of the events was to be believed, and the trial court failed to make any credibility determinations in the first instance. State v. Payne, 2012 Ohio 305, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 247 (9th Dist. January 30, 2012).*
Under Jones, the person complaining has to have standing to contest installation of the GPS in the vehicle. The members of the robbery crew here had no standing. United States v. Hanna, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11385 (S.D. Fla. January 30, 2012):
Under either approach recognized by Jones, an essential component of the Fourth Amendment claim requires that one's own personal "effects" have been trespassed (e.g., one's automobile when a GPS tracking device was secretly installed), or that one's own expectation of privacy was impinged (e.g., one's own movements were continuously monitored and tracked for a material period of time). That is principally where these Defendants' attempt to benefit from the Supreme Court's decision in Jones fails. Neither Ransfer nor Hanna was either the owner or exclusive user of the Ford Expedition. To the contrary, the record shows that members of the robbery crew consistently referred to the Expedition as co-Defendant Middleton's truck. It is undisputed, and the Court has found, that neither Ransfer nor Hanna was in possession of the Expedition at the time that the alleged trespass (the installation and subsequent use of the tracker) occurred. It is also undisputed that Middleton owned that vehicle at all relevant times. Thus, to the extent that Jones relies upon a theory of trespass upon private property, neither Ransfer nor Hanna has standing to challenge a trespass upon property as to which they had no rights.
Moreover, Defendants Ransfer and Hanna also lack standing to challenge the installation and use of the GPS device on the Ford Expedition because — under a traditional Katz analysis — they had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle. In Jones, five members of the Court concluded that Justice Scalia's trespass theory did not form a sufficiently comprehensive analysis of the Fourth Amendment implications of GPS monitoring and argued that GPS monitoring should also (in the case of Justice Sotomayor) or only (in the case of Justice Alito) be analyzed to determine whether it has invaded a reasonable expectation of privacy. Under this traditional test as well, neither defendant Ransfer nor Hanna had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the Ford Expedition or its movements, and thus neither has standing to challenge the installation and use of the GPS device.
When defendant was paroled, he agreed to be searched without cause. Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (2006). Even if reasonable suspicion was necessary, the officers had it. United States v. Wade, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11561 (N.D. Ga. January 4, 2012).*
Under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, there was probable cause to believe defendant’s vehicle was used in the commission of a drug crime so the vehicle was “contraband,” and that justified its impoundment. United States v. Allen, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152604 (M.D. Ga. December 5, 2011).*
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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)