Today our firm filed its second amicus brief in a challenge to the most sweeping Fourth Amendment violations ever committed by the U.S. government. (Our last brief was filed over four years ago.) This suit seeks to stop three different mass surveillance programs operated by the federal government — programs which have seized Internet (email, internet searches, etc.) and telephone communications of Americans since after 09-11. The district court below dismissed Jewel’s Fourth Amendment claims in 2015, but the Ninth Circuit case reversed and sent the case back. Earlier this year, the district court again dismissed Jewel’s Fourth Amendment claims. Our brief here asserts that Jewel established standing, that Jewel properly set out a property (and privacy) based claim for a Fourth Amendment violation, and explains how the government’s seizure and search of records was even worse than a prohibited general warrant.
Today we filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine its Terry v. Ohio, stop-and-frisk doctrine. Although Terry stop and frisks were limited to a search for weapons, in this case one was used to justify seizing a bullet. Since that decision in 1968, both Fourth and Second Amendment law has changed. The property basis of the Fourth Amendment has been re-established, and the Second Amendment has been recognized as protecting an individual right.
Today our firm filed an amicus brief involving a challenge to a Fourth Amendment violation by a social worker who strip-searched a four-year-old girl, without consent of the child or her mother, in search of tell-tale signs of child abuse. The Tenth Circuit dismissed the case, ruling that the social worker was not liable under the Supreme Court’s doctrine of qualified immunity. Our brief argues for limitations on the qualified immunity doctrine, and explains why the doctrine does not apply in this case.
Today we filed an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari challenging the government’s ability to track citizens through Cell Site Location Information (CSLI) obtained without a warrant. In this case, the trial court allowed the government to introduce 28 months of CSLI obtained by a prosecutor using a mere Grand Jury Subpoena. We argue that the Carpenter v. United States decision, issued in 2018, affirms the protection of CSLI under the Fourth Amendment, and the third-party doctrine does not apply. Our brief explains why the “good faith” exception applies only to police, and not prosecutors. This brief, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, is our third amicus brief in support of Philip Zodhiates.
Today we filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit in support of a petition for rehearing en banc, asking the Court to reconsider its decision which misapplied the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2006 (June 22, 2018). The trial court allowed the government to introduce evidence of “Cell Site Location Information” (“CSLI”) obtained without a warrant, which the Carpenter decision affirmed was protected by the Fourth Amendment. (This is our second amicus brief that we filed in this case, the first being filed on July 26, 2017)
This article by Dick Patten of the American Business Defense Council in the Washington Examiner about the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh references our article in Case Western School of Law Journal of Law, Technology & the Internet. There, we discussed Judge Kavanaugh’s important dissent to the denial of a petition for rehearing en banc in a case that became United States v. Jones in the U.S. Supreme Court. We analyzed Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in our amicus brief in Jones, and Justice Scalia’s decision embraced the originalist property-based foundation for the Fourth Amendment.
American Thinker published our analysis of the Carpenter v. United States decision, issued yesterday.
Today we filed our second amicus brief in the Ackerman case. Our first brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, and today’s brief was filed in the Tenth Circuit. This case involves the power of the government to conduct searches and seizures of email and attachments to email. The District Court decision upholding the search was entirely based on the “reasonable expectation of privacy” atextual judicial construct. When this case was before the Tenth Circuit previously, that Court raised the property basis of the Fourth Amendment set out in United States v. Jones in 2012, but this issue was not addressed by the District Court.
In the third section of our brief, we explain the history of the property foundation of the Fourth Amendment from before its ratification, through its abandonment, and now through its return to primacy in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. (Now-Justice Gorsuch authored the earlier Tenth Circuit opinion focusing on the property principle.)
Today we filed an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing important Fourth And Sixth Amendment issues. The investigation into Ross WilliamUlbricht, the founder of the “Silk Road” website, involved numerous Fourth Amendment violations in the search and seizure of his Internet Communications records. Additionally, Ulbricht had been sentenced to life imprisonment, and there is now no parole in the federal system, based on a judge’s findings of fact based on the preponderance of the evidence, in violation of his right to a jury trial.
Today, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving a warrantless search of a motorcycle under a tarp located in the “curtilage” of a home, or the area immediately surrounding it. Under the deeply flawed rule the Virginia Supreme Court applied, the Fourth Amendment has no bearing at all whenever an automobile or anything that resembles an automobile is being searched, irrespective of where the automobile is located.
Today, we filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court on the merits, arguing that the government may not seize and search your cell phone’s cell site location information without a warrant. This brief follows two briefs that we filed on this same issue in United States v Graham, and one in United States v. Zodhiates.
Bloomberg BNA carried an article discussing the brief we filed in U.S. v. Robinson on July 24, 2017.
Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in defense of a service member whose cell phone was searched and seized by the military in an unlawful manner. As we have in the Jones case, the Graham case, the Zodhiates case, and others we explain how the Fourth Amendment first and foremost protects property rights, not some vague “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Today we filed a brief in the Second Circuit challenging the Government’s use of cell phone location information obtained from a cell phone provider in response to a grand jury subpoena. We explain that under the Jones and Jardines textual/historic analysis that the cell phone user has a protected privacy interest in these records.
Accordingly, under the Fourth Amendment, the Government must seek them by warrant issued from a judicial officer issued “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Today, we filed an amicus brief in support of a motion to suppress evidence in a criminal case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. The case is on remand from an appeal to the Tenth Circuit which resulted in a decision written by Judge (now Justice) Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch had pointed out that the search of an email with its attachments could constitute a violation of the email owner’s property interest protected by the Fourth Amendment, applying the Supreme Court’s United States v. Jones principle. Our amicus brief pointed out that the Jones property principle is primary, but also, the search of the email violated the defendant’s privacy interest in the communications.
Today we filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a deeply flawed decision of the Virginia Supreme Court involving the Fourth Amendment. The cased involved different ways that courts evaluate the constitutionality of searches and seizures. The search in this case was of a motorcycle under a tarp located what is known as the “curtilage” of a home, or the area immediately surrounding it. Under the deeply flawed rule the Virginia Supreme Court applied, the Fourth Amendment has no bearing at all whenever an automobile or anything that resembles an automobile is being searched, irrespective of where the automobile is located.
Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition for certiorari in a case involving a Fourth Amendment violation where a person’s whereabouts were tracked for months by seizing his cell site location information. We argued against the Supreme Court’s “third-party doctrine,” which holds that a person does not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” if he voluntarily gives information to third parties. Further, the brief relied on the Court’s recently reinvigorated property rights basis of the Fourth Amendment, urging the Court to consider a person’s cell phone data and location as his property even though not a physical object.
This morning, the American Thinker published Jeremiah Morgan’s article about the amicus brief we filed in Manuel v. City of Joliet. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in this case on Wednesday, October 5. The article explains why victims of police misconduct should be able to bring a Fourth Amendment based suit when police fabricate evidence to obtain an indictment.
Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the right of a person who was unlawfully incarcerated for several weeks to be able to bring an action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 based on a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Today,we filed our third brief opposing NSA’s program of “Upstream” Internet surveillance of Americans. Our brief urges the Fourth Circuit to reverse the decision of the District Court in Maryland which found that neither Wikimedia Foundation — which runs Wikipedia — nor the other plaintiffs in the case, had standing to challenge that surveillance.
Today we filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging the High Court to reverse decisions from the Supreme Court of North Dakota and Minnesota which authorized police to force drivers to submit to warrantless blood and breath tests. We urge the Court to apply to principles of its prior decisions in United States v. Jones, and Florida v. Jardines, which re-established the property basis of the Fourth Amendment. We oppose reliance on the modern notion that the Fourth Amendment only protected a nontextual “expectation of privacy” — a false notion on which the two state supreme courts relied.
Today our firm filed a brief supporting a Fourth Amendment challenge to the warrantless use of cell site location information.
The brief was filed on behalf of DownsizeDC.org, Downsize DC Foundation, United States Justice Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Institute on the Constitution.
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