Cato.org: Don’t Renters Have Fourth Amendment Rights? by Ilya Shapiro:
A person’s home is his castle and thus affords certain protections and immunities—including the right to exclude unwanted visitors—that apply whether you own or rent. Unfortunately, ordinances authorizing general administrative searches of rental properties have been increasingly adopted by local authorities with little protection for property rights or privacy interests.
These inspections cover the whole of the buildings and all of the activity that occurs within, opening every aspect of people’s lives to the government: political and religious affiliations, intimate relationships, and even all those Justin Bieber posters and Fifty Shades of Gray books you hide when people come over. They take place even if both the landlord and tenant believe them not to be necessary!
Wired.com: Feds Requiring ‘Black Boxes’ in All Motor Vehicles by David Kravets:
Federal regulators are proposing that new automobiles sold in the United States after September 2014 come equipped with black boxes, so-called “event data recorders” that chronicle everything from how fast a vehicle was traveling, the number of passengers and even a car’s location.
While many automakers have voluntarily installed the devices already, the National Transportation Safety Agency wants to hear your comments by February 11 on its proposal mandating them in all vehicles. Congress has empowered the agency to set motor-vehicle-safety rules.
Clearly, regulators’ intentions are about safety, as the devices would trigger — for about 30 seconds — during so-called “events” such as during sudden breaking, acceleration, swerving or other types of driving that might lead to an accident. The data, which can either be downloaded remotely or by a physical connection, depending upon a vehicle’s model, is to be used by manufacturers and regulators “primarily for the purpose of post-crash assessment of vehicle safety system performance,” according to an announcement in the Federal Register. (.pdf)
But privacy advocates are raising the alarm bells, and want the agency to require data safeguards, including demands that data be anonymized, and to prohibit the marketing of it.
Atlantic.com: Senate Drops Effort to Prevent Warrantless Email Monitoring by Rebecca J. Rosen:
As the week wound down before the holiday break, the senate sent President Obama a bill that gives sites like Netflix the option of allowing users to automatically share their viewing history with their social networks on Facebook.
This was relatively uncontroversial, making video sites no different from other services (like Spotify, say) that already have this kind of easy sharing. In fact, the prohibition only existed in the first place because Congress singled out video-rental history as particularly private following an incident in 1987 when then-Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video-rental history was leaked to the Washington City Paper.
But the bill was only so uncontroversial because the Senate stripped it of a much more significant proposal: amendments offered by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, which would have required a warrant for law-enforcement agents to access the contents or metadata of emails that have been stored remotely for more than 180 days. Current law only requires a warrant for obtaining more recent communications. Once emails are older, government agents can obtain them with mere subpoenas, which require only a demonstration that the information would be useful to an ongoing investigation.
While a search warrant is required for a search of a cell phone in Ohio under State v. Smith, 124 Ohio St.3d 163, 2009 Ohio 6426, 920 N.E.2d 949 (2009), a warrant is not required if the cell phone is abandoned. State v. Moten, 2012 Ohio 6046, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 5204 (2d Dist. December 21, 2012).
A pre-Gant search that was valid under Belton but not Gant was still valid under Davis v. United States’s good faith exception. State v. Brown, 401 S.C. 82, 736 S.E.2d 263 (2012), revg State v. Brown, 389 S.C. 473, 698 S.E.2d 811 (Ct. App. 2010).
Defendant was suspected of robbing casino patrons after they won in Lawrenceburg, IN and drove to Cincinnati. After a lengthy investigation using GPS and recording telephone conversations, the police moved in and arrested defendant in his pickup truck. The police had probable cause to arrest defendant and the vehicle, left without a possible driver, was subject to inventory when it was towed in. The inventory was proper in all respects and not a ruse for a criminal investigation. State v. Ojile, 2012 Ohio 6015, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 5223 (1st Dist. December 21, 2012).* [If they had PC to arrest, they almost certainly had it to search the vehicle for evidence, weapons, or proceeds of crime because it was used in more than one of the robberies. Instead of taking the easiest to prove, the state apparently wanted to rely on inventory which has more for it to prove to show reasonableness.]
The Quarles public safety exception applies to a meth lab in a backpack voluntarily revealed by defendant and then with follow up questions. United States v. Noonan, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181190 (N.D. Iowa December 20, 2012).
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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)