Evidence / Search & Seizures
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Apr 30, 2015 Rules Change on I.R.S. Seizures, Too Late for Some
QUOTE: Under mounting pressure, the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department have announced in recent months that they will no longer use a law designed to go after drug dealers and terrorists to seize the bank accounts of small business owners who are not suspected of criminal activity.
New York Times Apr 18, 2015 FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
QUOTE: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far...
Washington Post Jun 02, 2014 Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Times Reporter Over Refusal to Identify Source
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times facing jail for refusing to identify a confidential source....The case arose from a subpoena to Mr. Risen seeking information about his source for a chapter of his 2006 book, “State of War.” Prosecutors say they need Mr. Risen’s testimony to prove that the source was Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. official.
New York Times May 17, 2014 Everyone should know just how much the government lied to defend the NSA
QUOTE: A web of deception has finally been untangled: the Justice Department got the US supreme court to dismiss a case that could have curtailed the NSA's dragnet.
Guardian Unlimited Dec 04, 2013 Innocent man: How inmate Michael Morton lost 25 years of his life
QUOTE: a group of attorneys, working pro bono on Morton's behalf, managed to bring the truth to light. Not only was Morton innocent, but the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, was accused of withholding crucial evidence...."an extremely rare instance, and perhaps the first time, that a prosecutor has been criminally punished for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence," the Innocence Project said.
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 29, 2013 Lawmakers propose USA Freedom Act to curb NSA’s powers
QUOTE: Dozens of lawmakers from both parties introduced legislation Tuesday to rein in the National Security Agency's spying powers. The USA Freedom Act, which has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate and more than 70 in the House, would end the agency's massive phone record collection program — one of the most controversial revelations from the leaks by Edward Snowden.
The Hill Oct 15, 2013 Dear John: Think twice before picking up that prostitute in Sanford
QUOTE: the Sanford Police Department will send "Dear John" letters to registered owners of vehicles spotted lingering in areas known for prostitution....Some lawyers are criticizing the initiative, which they say could have negative repercussions if police erroneously send the letter to someone who was not looking for a prostitute.
Orlando Sentinel Sep 10, 2013 New details in how the feds take laptops at border
QUOTE: President Barack Obama and his predecessors have maintained that people crossing into U.S. territory aren't protected by the Fourth Amendment. That policy is intended to allow for intrusive searches that keep drugs, child pornography and other illegal imports out of the country. But it also means the government can target travelers for no reason other than political advocacy if it wants, and obtain electronic documents identifying fellow supporters.
Yahoo News May 31, 2013 Shakedown 'justice' in Mexico
QUOTE: Those of us who visit Mexico know you never get on a bus. It makes you easy pickings for bandits and bad cops, and sometimes you can't tell the difference. Bandits might take your money, and let you go on your way. Bad cops take your liberty, and hold it until someone back home sends enough money to let you go on your way.
CNN (Cable News Network) Nov 15, 2012 The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy
QUOTE: Once you've opened an email or your Facebook account, you've provided your personal information to a third party. The government can then ask that third party—Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Friendster, or whatever—for your information, and they don't necessarily need a warrant. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. It doesn't stop third parties from sharing personal information you willingly give them.
Mother Jones Oct 18, 2012 Boy Scout Files Detail Decades of Abuse Accusations
QUOTE: Regrets and recriminations about how the Boy Scouts of America have policed the ranks of its scoutmasters and other volunteers to guard against sexual predators — and how they have often failed — echo through the thousands of pages of internal documents, police files and newspaper clippings....They do not suggest that scouting was riddled with sexual stalkers.
New York Times Jul 19, 2012 It's legal: cops seize cell phone, impersonate owner: Court says sending texts using a seized iPhone doesn't violate privacy rights.
QUOTE: Mobile phones exist in a constitutional grey area. The law has well-developed doctrines protecting the privacy of our desktop computers, landline telephones, and filing cabinets. But modern cell phones perform all of these functions, and more. If the police are free to rummage through any cell phone that falls into their hands, every arrest would automatically give the police access to a treasure trove of private data that they would otherwise need a warrant, based on probable cause, to obtain.
Ars Technica Jul 13, 2012 That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker.
QUOTE: Thanks to the explosion of GPS technology and smartphone apps, these devices are also taking note of what we buy, where and when we buy it, how much money we have in the bank, whom we text and e-mail, what Web sites we visit, how and where we travel, what time we go to sleep and wake up — and more. Much of that data is shared with companies that use it to offer us services they think we want.
New York Times May 04, 2012 Using NYPD Warrant Squads to Monitor Protesters May Violate Constitution: Experts
QUOTE: Executing old warrants -- no matter how minor -- is legal. But legal experts say the tactic becomes illegal if it is done solely to investigate political activity.
WNYC Apr 17, 2012 DOJ review of flawed FBI forensics processes lacked transparency
QUOTE: Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh decided to launch a task force to dig through thousands of cases involving discredited agents, to ensure that “no defendant’s right to a fair trial was jeopardized,”...The task force took nine years to complete its work and never publicly released its findings. Not the results of its case reviews of suspect lab work. Not the names of the defendants who were convicted as a result. And not the nature or scope of the forensic problems it found. Those decisions more than a decade ago remain relevant today for hundreds of people still in the U.S. court system, because officials never notified many defendants of the forensic flaws in their cases and never expanded their review to catch similar mistakes.
Washington Post Mar 31, 2012 Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool
QUOTE: Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show. The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too...
New York Times Jan 29, 2012 Words matter in Penn State perjury case
QUOTE: the story began with an assistant coach at Penn State, Mike McQueary, who testified that nearly 10 years ago he walked in on former coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the football team's locker room showers. McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time, said he had no doubt that he witnessed "severe sexual acts" that were wrong and "over the lines." Yet, as a transcript shows, each time McQueary's story was told it became less specific, until others at the end of the line reacted as if what he had seen was no big deal.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 23, 2012 Justices Say GPS Tracker Violated Privacy Rights
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days. A set of overlapping opinions in the case collectively suggested that a majority of the justices are prepared to apply broad privacy principles to bring the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches into the digital age...
New York Times Dec 19, 2011 Exonerated of Murder, Texan Seeks Inquiry on Prosecutor
QUOTE: A Texas man wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife is scheduled to be officially exonerated on Monday. That is no longer so unusual in Texas, where 45 inmates have been exonerated in the last decade based on DNA evidence. What is unprecedented is the move planned by lawyers for the man, Michael Morton: they are expected to file a request for a special hearing to determine whether the prosecutor broke state laws or ethics rules by withholding evidence that could have led to Mr. Morton’s acquittal 25 years ago.
New York Times Dec 08, 2011 Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details...
QUOTE: The US government has effectively admitted that it totally screwed up and falsely seized & censored a non-infringing domain of a popular blog, having falsely claimed that it was taking part in criminal copyright infringement. Then, after trying to hide behind a totally secretive court process with absolutely no due process whatsoever...
Techdirt Nov 12, 2011 Keep government out of mind-reading business (My Take)
QUOTE: Now, for the first time in human history, we are peering into the labyrinth of the mind and pulling out information, perhaps even information you would rather we did not know....If my right to privacy means anything, it must mean the right to keep my innermost thoughts safe from the prying eyes of the state, the military or my employer.
CNN (Cable News Network) Nov 08, 2011 Which Way Privacy? The Supreme Court asks whether the government can put a GPS device on your car without a warrant.
QUOTE: The warrant expired after 10 days, but the police nevertheless used the GPS to monitor everywhere he drove, every 10 seconds, for 28 days....Jones tried to have his conviction set aside, arguing that warrantless GPS surveillance violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable government searches and seizures. The government replied that GPS tracking is no different from police observing activity in public spaces and roadways, which is not protected under the Constitution.
Slate Oct 10, 2011 Secret Orders Target Email: WikiLeaks Backer's Information Sought
QUOTE: The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people's email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Sep 01, 2011 Age bias in IT: Should you sue? Age discrimination lawsuits aren't easy to endure, but they can be won. Here's what you need to know.
QUOTE: Age discrimination complaints are on the rise....A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, raised the bar for age discrimination cases, saying that plaintiffs, and not the companies being sued, bear the burden of proving a dismissal or reassignment of duties was due to age and not some other factor.
Computerworld Aug 25, 2011 In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media
QUOTE: British officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met Thursday to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest, while trying to dodge charges of hypocrisy and censorship that trailed Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to restrict use of the networks after this month’s riots.
New York Times Aug 24, 2011 In New Jersey, Rules Are Changed on Witness IDs
QUOTE: The New Jersey Supreme Court, acknowledging a “troubling lack of reliability in eyewitness identifications,” issued sweeping new rules on Wednesday making it easier for defendants to challenge such evidence in criminal cases.
New York Times Aug 19, 2011 Feds investigate L.A. sheriff's office for civil rights violations
QUOTE: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is being investigated for alleged "systemic" civil rights violations during routine traffic stops by trying to identify people who live in publicly subsidized housing...
CNN (Cable News Network) Aug 19, 2011 Deal Frees ‘West Memphis Three’ in Arkansas
QUOTE: While many were convinced of the guilt of Mr. Echols, the alleged ringleader, others were immediately skeptical, believing he was singled out for being an outsider in a small town.
New York Times Jul 11, 2011 Immigrants May Be Fed False Stories to Bolster Asylum Pleas
QUOTE: A shadowy industry dedicated to asylum fraud thrives in New York, where many of the country’s asylum claims are filed. Immigrants peddle personal accounts ripped from international headlines, con artists prey on the newly arrived and nonlawyers offer misguided advice.
New York Times Jul 02, 2011 Some With Histories of Mental Illness Petition to Get Their Gun Rights Back
QUOTE: law passed by Congress after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that was actually meant to make it harder for people with mental illness to get guns. As a condition of its support for the measure, the National Rifle Association extracted a concession: the inclusion of a mechanism for restoring firearms rights to those who lost them for mental health reasons.
New York Times Jun 22, 2011 Free to Search and Seize
QUOTE: legally, if a black man in a poor neighborhood can be stopped and frisked with minimal reason, so can a white woman in a rich neighborhood — even if the police tactics differ. American history is replete with assaults on liberties that first target foreigners, minorities and those on the political margins, then spread toward the mainstream.
New York Times Jun 13, 2011 Bahrain doctors go on trial, alleging torture to extract confessions
QUOTE: Prosecutors alleged Monday that automatic weapons and ammunition were discovered in the hospital, that the defendants "hijacked" the hospital building and controlled it...Activists and human rights groups allege that the medical workers are being prosecuted for treating protesters.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 01, 2011 Know Your Rights!
QUOTE: The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer? EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights...
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Feb 08, 2011 Egyptian man's death became symbol of callous state
QUOTE: ... the death of Khaled Said would have become a footnote in the annals of Egyptian police brutality. Instead, outrage over the beating death of the 28-year-old man in this coastal city last summer, and attempts by local authorities to cover it up, helped spark the mass protests demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Washington Post Feb 02, 2011 Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court
QUOTE: “No one wants child abuse,” says Keith Findley, a lawyer for the Wisconsin Innocence Project. “But we should not be prosecuting and convicting people in shaken-baby cases right now, based on the triad of symptoms, without other evidence of abuse. If the medical community can’t agree about all the conflicting data and research, how is a jury supposed to reach a conclusion that’s beyond a reasonable doubt?”
New York Times Jan 09, 2011 1986 Privacy Law Is Outrun by the Web
QUOTE: Many Internet companies and consumer advocates say the main law governing communication privacy — enacted in 1986, before cellphone and e-mail use was widespread, and before social networking was even conceived — is outdated, affording more protection to letters in a file cabinet than e-mail on a server...a patchwork of confusing standards that have been interpreted inconsistently by the courts, creating uncertainty.
New York Times Nov 28, 2010 The TSA is invasive, annoying - and unconstitutional
QUOTE: Neither virtual strip-searches nor intrusive pat-downs should be considered "routine," and therefore courts should rule that neither can be used for primary screening.
Washington Post Jun 10, 2010 Judge limits DHS laptop border searches
QUOTE: A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler's laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later.
CNET May 12, 2010 New York Minorities More Likely to Be Frisked
QUOTE: Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped by the police in New York City in 2009, but, once stopped, were no more likely to be arrested....intense debate about the effectiveness and propriety of the tactic, but also litigation intended to force the department to reveal more information about the encounters.
New York Times May 09, 2010 Holder Backs a Miranda Limit for Terror Suspects
QUOTE: The Obama administration said Sunday it would seek a law allowing investigators to interrogate terrorism suspects without informing them of their rights.... [Holder] said interrogators needed greater flexibility to question terrorism suspects than is provided by existing exceptions.
New York Times Apr 19, 2010 Amazon fights demand for customer records
QUOTE: Amazon.com filed a lawsuit on Monday to fend off a sweeping demand from North Carolina's tax collectors: detailed records including names and addresses of customers and information about exactly what they purchased.
CNET Apr 19, 2010 Justices Get Personal Over Privacy of Messages
QUOTE: The question in a case argued Monday in the Supreme Court sounded both irresistible and important: Did a California police department violate the Constitution by reading sexually explicit text messages sent by an officer on a department-issued pager?
New York Times Mar 31, 2010 Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal
QUOTE: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.
New York Times Mar 30, 2010 Judge's ruling deals U.S. major setback in H-1B fraud case: Parts of government's case against IT services firm dismissed and electronic evidence suppressed
QUOTE: In what may be the largest H-1B fraud case ever brought forward, the government has run into trouble with a judge having dismissed a number of counts and suppressed some of the evidence taken from an IT services firm's computers.
InfoWorld Feb 13, 2010 Justice Dept. defends warrantless cell phone tracking
QUOTE: The FBI and other police agencies don't need to obtain a search warrant to learn the locations of Americans' cell phones, the U.S. Department of Justice told a federal appeals court in Philadelphia on Friday.
CNET Dec 09, 2009 Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Illinois forfeiture law: The Supreme Court dismissed a case pitting innocent property owners against Chicago police and prosecutors who held seized autos and other property for years
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to the Cook County State's Attorney and the Chicago Police Department when the justices unanimously dismissed as moot a challenge to Illinois' controversial forfeiture law.
Christian Science Monitor Nov 14, 2009 Muslim groups express concern about seized mosques: Federal authorities don't accuse the mosques, which were seized as property of the Iran-linked Alavi Foundation, of any wrongdoing...
QUOTE: The forfeiture action,[by the federal government] however, is raising concerns about religious freedom among Muslims, many of whom already say government counterterrorism efforts unfairly tarnish the vast majority of law abiding Muslims.
Christian Science Monitor Nov 03, 2009 At Supreme Court: Can prosecutors be sued for framing defendants? Two African-American men wrongly imprisoned for 25 years filed a lawsuit against prosecutors for fabricating evidence against them...
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider an unusual question: Do Americans who have been framed by unscrupulous prosecutors for crimes they did not commit have a right to sue the prosecutors when the fraud is finally exposed?
Christian Science Monitor Oct 11, 2009 Justice Dept. to Review Bush Policy on DNA Test Waivers
QUOTE: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has ordered a review of a little-known Bush administration policy requiring some defendants to waive their right to DNA testing even though that right is guaranteed in a landmark federal law, officials said.
Washington Post Sep 10, 2009 War of technologies in California speeding case: Parents of a teen driver use data from a GPS vehicular tracking device to fight a speeding charge based on radar guns.
QUOTE: A California speeding ticket case to be decided in coming weeks puts a new twist on the age-old cops versus drivers battle, pitting police radar against personal GPS tracking devices.
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