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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?