Post details: Fourth Amendment news

11/11/09

Permalink 06:11:23 am, by fourth, 249 words, 4351 views   English (US)
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Fourth Amendment news

TSA Changes its search policy

Occasionally, TSA personnel decide that they have a criminal investigative mission as well as an airport safety mission, but the courts thus far have not agreed. That hasn't stopped them, and the ACLU sued them, but dropped it yesterday after TSA changed its rules.

In the Washington Times today is an article about it: Airport rules changed after Ron Paul aide detained:

An angry aide to Rep. Ron Paul, an iPhone and $4,700 in cash have forced the Transportation Security Administration to quietly issue two new rules telling its airport screeners they can only conduct searches related to airplane safety.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union is dropping its lawsuit on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt, the man who was detained in March and who recorded the confrontation on his iPhone as TSA and local police officers spent half an hour demanding answers as to why he was carrying the money through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

The new rules, issued in September and October, tell officers "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security" and that large amounts of cash don't qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety.

"We had been hearing of so many reports of TSA screeners engaging in wide-ranging fishing expeditions for illegal activities," said Ben Wizner, a staff lawyer for the ACLU, pointing to reports of officers scanning pill-bottle labels to see whether the passenger was the person who obtained the prescription as one example.

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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
—Me

"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).

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Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
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"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."
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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).

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Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

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“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)

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"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."
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Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)


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