The NYPD has to comply with a new set of rules passed by the city council (over the veto of Mayor Bloomberg) to rein in the rampant constitutional abuses that have been going on there for years, so they’ve started telling their officers how to act in accordance with those rules.
Category Archive: Civil Liberties
Dec 04 2013
Dec 02 2013
In a replay of the 1960s COINTELPRO program, Glenn Greenwald is now publishing documents that show that the federal government has been using their illegal surveillance programs to find dirt on “radicalizers” in order to blackmail or discredit them.
Nov 27 2013
Now that the Iraq war has ended and the Afghanistan war is winding down, the Pentagon has lots of surplus equipment and they’re ready to unload it on local police departments. Because every sheriff’s department should have IED-resistant armored personnel carriers with machine guns mounted on them.
Nov 20 2013
Though the 4th Amendment requires that no search can be made without probable cause, the courts have allowed the much lower “reasonable suspicion” standard for many types of police stops. A new report that shows a 97% failure rate should put that absurd idea to rest permanently.
Nov 14 2013
We have all recoiled in shock and disgust at the stories coming out of New Mexico (though that state is hardly alone here) about the police doing invasive anal probes to find drugs on virtually no evidence. Radley Balko, who has done better reporting on police abuse and civil liberties than any other reporter in …
Nov 12 2013
Ken White at Popehat writes in great detail about the 2nd New Mexico case where a man was subject to invasive anal probes to find drugs that did not exist (the one involving the police dog “alerting”). He has the affidavit submitted to get the warrant and the whole thing is worth reading. But here …
Nov 09 2013
Turns out that wasn’t the first time the police in New Mexico had ordered a body cavity search on someone they pulled with nothing even remotely like probable cause. They did it in another case where the only evidence was a drug dog “alerted” on the seat of a guy’s car.
Nov 07 2013
A gay high school student in Birdville, Texas has been suspended for ripping pages out of his own Bible, which he brought with him to class. The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Legal Center is getting involved, sending a letter to the school demanding that the suspension be lifted.
Nov 06 2013
I noted the other day that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals had put a stay on an injunction ordered by District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin reining in the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program. It was a very odd ruling, removing Scheindlin from handling the case even though neither side had requested such action. That …
Nov 04 2013
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay of the landmark federal district court ruling that declared some aspects of the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program unconstitutional and imposed new procedural and oversight protections. The ruling will not be enforced while an appeal is heard.
Oct 31 2013
I’ve written many times about the pathetic excuse for a public defender system we have in this country, one in which justice is not even hypothetically possible, much less real on a practical level. The New Jersey Supreme Court has now said that as long as there is a warm-blooded person standing at the attorney’s …
Oct 30 2013
This is a very interesting development that could lead somewhere important. The Department of Justice is now informing defendants if any evidence in their case was procured through a warrantless wiretap. Why is this important? Because it gives them standing to challenge illegal surveillance.
Oct 24 2013
The Obama administration’s argument for why it’s okay to collect everyone’s electronic communications (like the Bush administration) is that it isn’t really a search until a human looks at or listens to all that data. And trust them, they have rules about that. Bruce Schneier explains why that’s absolute nonsense.
Oct 01 2013
The Inspector General of the National Security Agency has sent a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley about cases where NSA personnel have used their ability to listen in on phone calls and other communications to spy on girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives. It’s happened 12 times since 2003. Some examples: