A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed over the NSA’s bulk collection of cell phone metadata violates the Fourth Amendment, but that ruling was stayed immediately to give the government the chance to appeal it to a higher court. But the language in the ruling is very important and spot on.
Category Archive: Civil Liberties
Dec 17 2013
W. Paul Smith notes that it was one year ago that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finished compiling a massive report, more than 6000 pages, on the torture regime constructed by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. You’ve never seen that report because the Obama administration has classified it and refused to release it, even in …
Dec 13 2013
Federal Judge Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, declared in a dissenting opinion in a case that prosecutorial misconduct — in this case withholding important information from defense attorneys — is an epidemic in this country. Radley Balko has the details.
Dec 12 2013
The Department of Justice and the FBI have indicted 18 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies for what they call a pattern of rampant corruption and abuse of inmates at the nation’s largest municipal jail system, one they says was encouraged by the leaders of that department.
Dec 11 2013
Trigger warning: This article contains unfathomable sadness. You’re definitely going to want to get a box of Kleenex out before you read the incredibly haunting tale of the people who work at the NSA. It seems their morale is down now that Edward Snowden has blown the whistle on a vast range of clearly unconstitutional …
Dec 09 2013
Newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio has named his choice to replace the odious Ray Kelly as commission of the NYPD and it’s Bill Bratton, who already served in that position under Rudy Giuliani. That can’t be a good sign for those of us who care about civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.
Dec 04 2013
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.
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 …