Tag Archives: fourth amendment

Court allows lawsuit against police for improper drug raid to go forward

This might be a big victory: A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit by two former CIA agents can go forward against the police for an improper home drug raid against the family because they happened to have a tomato garden.

The police raided the home, threatened the couple and their children, all because they had shopped for garden supplies and had brewed their tea from loose tea leaves. From the court ruling:

This week, the three judge panel — Carlos Lucero, Gregory Phillips and Nancy Moritz — ruled against the state, sending the case back to district court. What’s notable is that the 100-page decision pushed back hard against the claim police officers are immune from legal responsibility if they are just doing their jobs. “The defendants in this case caused an unjustified governmental intrusion into the Hartes’ home based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt,” Lucero wrote in his opinion. “The Fourth Amendment does not condone this conduct, and neither can I.”

The judge went on to question the department’s claim of probable cause for the raid — particularly on the issue of the supposedly “positive” field-tested tea leaves. “There was no probable cause at any step of the investigation,” the judge wrote. “Not at the garden shop, not at the gathering of the tea leaves, and certainly not at the analytical stage when the officers willfully ignored directions to submit any presumed results to a laboratory for analysis.”

The lawsuit was filed against the specific police officers who conducted the raid, as well as the local county elected officials who sanctioned the raid. I hope they bankrupt them all.

I should also add that the timing here is great, because Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, appears in favor of more of these kinds of raids.

Share

Court rules no warrant needed for police to hack your computer

Now the fourth amendment is under attack: A federal court has ruled that the police have the right to hack into your personal computer, in your home, without a warrant.

The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all. To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy.

The Democrats want to nullify the first, second, and fifth amendments. A federal court wants to nullify the fourth. It seems to me that the Bill of Rights is increasingly not worth the paper it was written on.

Share

Student sues police for fine after refusing Breathalyzer

Good for her! A Michigan high school student who was fined when she refused to take a Breathalyzer test — even though she was only a passenger in the vehicle — has filed a federal lawsuit claiming her constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches was violated.

The law violates Guthrie’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches, her Detroit lawyer told NBC News. “Her rights were violated when she was forced to submit to Breathalyzer to prove her innocence,” attorney Mike Rataj said. “That is not how the criminal justice system works. This is a girl who has never been in trouble before and has no criminal history.”

It can be argued that a driver has made a deal with the state, which provides roads and regulates their safe use, and must submit. She however was merely a passenger, and thus any search of her body really does require a warrant, as per the Bill of Rights. I hope she wins.

Share

The effort by the local government in Rochester, New York, to destroy the fourth amendment rights of renters.

The effort by the local government in Rochester, New York, to destroy the fourth amendment rights of renters.

These warrants are generated without suspicion of a crime and do not specify things to be searched. They remain valid for 45 days, permit multiple entries by code officers, and allow officers to film their inspections, which are later publicly available. The whole neighborhood is able to see the letters on a coffee table and the contents of a medicine cabinet. Inspectors are permitted to look through every aspect of a house, wherever there may be violations of “federal, state, county, or city law, ordinance, rule or regulation relating to the construction, alteration, maintenance, repair, operation, use, condition or occupancy of a premises.” Inspectors may look inside “interior surfaces” of closets and drawers to determine if they are “clean and sanitary.”

And then there’s this suspicious fact:

But David Ahl, a board member of the New York State Coalition of Property Owners and Businesses, alleges that the city is engaging in punitive action meant to chill the exercise of the right to deny consent. Through Freedom of Information Law requests he has discovered that city has filed 50 administrative search warrants since 2003, every single one of which target properties owned and managed by members of his organization.

Why is the Rochester government specifically only getting these broad search warrants against members of this particular organization?

Share