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Category Archives: Fourth Amendment

Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case

Posted: June 24, 2016 at 7:26 am

In a so-far-sleepy Supreme Court term, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let loose a scorching dissent in a case involving the Fourth Amendment and police conduct on Monday. The majority opinion, Sotomayor wrote, “says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court’s opinion on behalf of five justices, including all of the other Republican appointees and Democratic appointee Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined most of Sotomayor’s dissent, as well as a separate dissent by Justice Elena Kagan.

Sotomayor’s remarkably direct dissent went far beyond the specific question of the case, tapping directly into the zeitgeist of the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform. It cites the Department of Justice’s report from Ferguson, Missouri, on police misconduct and books like Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” and James Baldwin’s 1963 classic “The Fire Next Time.”

Related: Supreme Court Won’t Consider Challenge to Assault Weapons Ban

Of people “routinely targeted by the police,” Sotomayor wrote, “Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”

The case concerns Edward Strieff, who was stopped while leaving a house a police officer was watching on suspicion of drug activity. When the officer discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, he searched Strieff and found methamphetamine. The court had to decide whether the drugs found on Strieff could be used as evidence or whether such evidence was disqualified by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Evidence in the Strieff case, Thomas wrote for the majority, was “admissible because the officer’s discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest.”

Sotomayor retorted, “The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants even if you are doing nothing wrong.”

Early in her career, Sotomayor worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan not exactly the redoubt of the soft on crime. Still, she wrote, in the only portion of the dissenting opinion Ginsburg didn’t join, “Writing only for myself, and drawing on my professional experiences, I would add that unlawful ‘stops’ have severe consequences much greater than the inconvenience suggested by the name.”

She added that the fact that the officer did in fact find drugs on Strieff didn’t matter: “A basic principle lies at the heart of the Fourth Amendment: Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

She described at length all the encroachments a police officer can lawfully make on an individual, from invasive physical searches to handcuffing to a lasting arrest record.

Strieff is white, Sotomayor noted, but that doesn’t mean racial profiling isn’t at the heart of this case. “The white defendant in this case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’ instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”

Validating “the talk” under color of law, Sotomayor concluded, “implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

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Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case

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NACDL: Symposium Report: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age

Posted: June 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (2015)

by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

2003-16, online since Feb. 24, 2003

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fourth Amendment cases, citations, and links

Latest Slip Opinions: U.S. Supreme Court (Home) Federal Appellate Courts Opinions First Circuit Second Circuit Third Circuit Fourth Circuit Fifth Circuit Sixth Circuit Seventh Circuit Eighth Circuit Ninth Circuit Tenth Circuit Eleventh Circuit D.C. Circuit Federal Circuit Foreign Intell.Surv.Ct. FDsys, many district courts, other federal courts, other Military Courts: C.A.A.F., Army, AF, N-M, CG State courts (and some USDC opinions)

Google Scholar Advanced Google Scholar Google search tips LexisWeb LII State Appellate Courts LexisONE free caselaw Findlaw Free Opinions To search Search and Seizure on Lexis.com $

Research Links: Supreme Court: SCOTUSBlog S. Ct. Docket Solicitor General’s site SCOTUSreport Briefs online (but no amicus briefs) Curiae (Yale Law) Oyez Project (NWU) “On the Docket”Medill S.Ct. Monitor: Law.com S.Ct. Com’t’ry: Law.com

General (many free): LexisWeb Google Scholar | Google LexisOne Legal Website Directory Crimelynx Lexis.com $ Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $ Findlaw.com Findlaw.com (4th Amd) Westlaw.com $ F.R.Crim.P. 41 http://www.fd.org FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf) DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download) DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf) Stringrays (ACLU No. Cal.) (pdf)

Congressional Research Service: –Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012) ACLU on privacy Privacy Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation NACDLs Domestic Drone Information Center Electronic Privacy Information Center Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.) Section 1983 Blog

“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn’t, and they don’t.” Me

I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

“I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” Janis Joplin

“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

“Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.” Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! —Pep Le Pew

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NACDL: Symposium Report: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age

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Annotation 3 – Fourth Amendment – FindLaw

Posted: June 1, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Valid Searches and Seizures Without Warrants

While the Supreme Court stresses the importance of warrants and has repeatedly referred to searches without warrants as ”exceptional,” 1 it appears that the greater number of searches, as well as the vast number of arrests, take place without warrants. The Reporters of the American Law Institute Project on a Model Code of Pre- Arraignment Procedure have noted ”their conviction that, as a practical matter, searches without warrant and incidental to arrest have been up to this time, and may remain, of greater practical importance” than searches pursuant to warrants. ”[T]he evidence on hand . . . compel[s] the conclusion that searches under warrants have played a comparatively minor part in law enforcement, except in connection with narcotics and gambling laws.” 2 Nevertheless, the Court frequently asserts that ”the most basic constitutional rule in this area is that ‘searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment–subject only to a few specially established and well-delineated exceptions.” 3 The exceptions are said to be ”jealously and carefully drawn,” 4 and there must be ”a showing by those who seek exemption . . . that the exigencies of the situation made that course imperative.” 5 While the record does indicate an effort to categorize the exceptions, the number and breadth of those exceptions have been growing.

Detention Short of Arrest: Stop-and-Frisk .–Arrests are subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, but the courts have followed the common law in upholding the right of police officers to take a person into custody without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony or has committed a misdemeanor in their presence. 6 The probable cause is, of course, the same standard required to be met in the issuance of an arrest warrant, and must be satisfied by conditions existing prior to the policeman’s stop, what is discovered thereafter not sufficing to establish retroactively reasonable cause. 7 There are, however, instances when a policeman’s suspicions will have been aroused by someone’s conduct or manner, but probable cause for placing such a person under arrest will be lacking. 8 In Terry v. Ohio, 9 the Court almost unanimously approved an on-the-street investigation by a police officer which involved ”patting down” the subject of the investigation for weapons.

The case arose when a police officer observed three individuals engaging in conduct which appeared to him, on the basis of training and experience, to be the ”casing” of a store for a likely armed robbery; upon approaching the men, identifying himself, and not receiving prompt identification, the officer seized one of the men, patted the exterior of his clothes, and discovered a gun. Chief Justice Warren for the Court wrote that the Fourth Amendment was applicable to the situation, applicable ”whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away.” 10 Since the warrant clause is necessarily and practically of no application to the type of on-the-street encounter present in Terry, the Chief Justice continued, the question was whether the policeman’s actions were reasonable. The test of reasonableness in this sort of situation is whether the police officer can point to ”specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts,” would lead a neutral magistrate on review to conclude that a man of reasonable caution would be warranted in believing that possible criminal behavior was at hand and that both an investigative stop and a ”frisk” was required. 11 Inasmuch as the conduct witnessed by the policeman reasonably led him to believe that an armed robbery was in prospect, he was as reasonably led to believe that the men were armed and probably dangerous and that his safety required a ”frisk.” Because the object of the ”frisk” is the discovery of dangerous weapons, ”it must therefore be confined in scope to an intrusion reasonably designed to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments for the assault of the police officer.” 12 If, in the course of a weapons frisk, ”plain touch” reveals presence of an object that the officer has probable cause to believe is contraband, the officer may seize that object. Supp.3 The Court viewed the situation as analogous to that covered by the ”plain view” doctrine: obvious contraband may be seized, but a search may not be expanded to determine whether an object is contraband. Supp.4

Terry did not pass on a host of problems, including the grounds that could permissibly lead an officer to momentarily stop a person on the street or elsewhere in order to ask questions rather than frisk for weapons, the right of the stopped individual to refuse to cooperate, and the permissible response of the police to that refusal. Following that decision, the standard for stops for investigative purposes evolved into one of ”reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.” That test permits some stops and questioning without probable cause in order to allow police officers to explore the foun dations of their suspicions. 13 While not elaborating a set of rules governing the application of the tests, the Court was initially restrictive in recognizing permissible bases for reasonable suspicion. 14 Extensive instrusions on individual privacy, e.g., transportation to the stationhouse for interrogation and fingerprinting, were invalidated in the absence of probable cause. 15 More recently, however, the Court has taken less restrictive approaches. 16

It took the Court some time to settle on a test for when a ”seizure” has occurred, and the Court has recently modified its approach. The issue is of some importance, since it is at this point that Fourth Amendment protections take hold. The Terry Court recognized in dictum that ”not all personal intercourse between policemen and citizens involves ‘seizures’ of persons,” and suggested that ”[o]nly when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen may we conclude that a ‘seizure’ has occurred.” 17 Years later Justice Stewart proposed a similar standard, that a person has been seized ”only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.” 18 This reasonable perception standard was subse quently endorsed by a majority of Justices, 19 and was applied in several cases in which admissibility of evidence turned on whether a seizure of the person not justified by probable cause or reasonable suspicion had occurred prior to the uncovering of the evidence. No seizure occurred, for example, when INS agents seeking to identify illegal aliens conducted work force surveys within a garment factory; while some agents were positioned at exits, others systematically moved through the factory and questioned employees. 20 This brief questioning, even with blocked exits, amounted to ”classic consensual encounters rather than Fourth Amendment seizures.” 21 The Court also ruled that no seizure had occurred when police in a squad car drove alongside a suspect who had turned and run down the sidewalk when he saw the squad car approach. Under the circumstances (no siren, flashing lights, display of a weapon, or blocking of the suspect’s path), the Court concluded, the police conduct ”would not have communicated to the reasonable person an attempt to capture or otherwise intrude upo
n [one’s] freedom of movement.” 22

Soon thereafter, however, the Court departed from the Mendenhall reasonable perception standard and adopted a more formalistic approach, holding that an actual chase with evident intent to capture did not amount to a ”seizure” because the suspect did not comply with the officer’s order to halt. Mendenhall, said the Court in California v. Hodari D., stated a ”necessary” but not a ”sufficient” condition for a seizure of the person through show of authority. 23 A Fourth Amendment ”seizure” of the person, the Court determined, is the same as a common law arrest; there must be either application of physical force (or the laying on of hands), or submission to the assertion of authority. 24 Indications are, however, that Hodari D. does not signal the end of the reasonable perception standard, but merely carves an exception applicable to chases and perhaps other encounters between suspects and police.

Later in the same term the Court ruled that the Mendenhall ”free-to-leave” inquiry was misplaced in the context of a police sweep of a bus, but that a modified reasonable perception approach still governed. 25 In conducting a bus sweep, aimed at detecting illegal drugs and their couriers, police officers typically board a bus during a stopover at a terminal and ask to inspect tickets, identification, and sometimes luggage of selected passengers. The Court did not focus on whether an ”arrest” had taken place, as adherence to the Hodari D. approach would have required, but instead suggested that the appropriate inquiry is ”whether a reasonable person would feel free to decline the officers’ requests or otherwise terminate the encounter.” 26 ”When the person is seated on a bus and has no desire to leave,” the Court explained, ”the degree to which a reasonable person would feel that he or she could leave is not an accurate measure of the coercive effect of the encounter.” 27

A Terry search need not be limited to a stop and frisk of the person, but may extend as well to a protective search of the passenger compartment of a car if an officer possesses ”a reasonable belief, based on specific and articulable facts . . . that the suspect is dangerous and . . . may gain immediate control of weapons.” 28 How lengthy a Terry detention may be varies with the circumstances. In approving a 20-minute detention of a driver made necessary by the driver’s own evasion of drug agents and a state police decision to hold the driver until the agents could arrive on the scene, the Court indicated that it is ”appropriate to examine whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.” 29

Similar principles govern detention of luggage at airports in order to detect the presence of drugs; Terry ”limitations applicable to investigative detentions of the person should define the permissible scope of an investigative detention of the person’s luggage on less than probable cause.” 30 The general rule is that ”when an officer’s observations lead him reasonably to believe that a traveler is carrying luggage that contains narcotics, the principles of Terry . . . would permit the officer to detain the luggage briefly to investigate the circumstances that aroused his suspicion, provided that the investigative detention is properly limited in scope.” 31 Seizure of luggage for an expeditious ”canine sniff” by a dog trained to detect narcotics can satisfy this test even though seizure of luggage is in effect detention of the traveler, since the procedure results in ”limited disclosure,” impinges only slightly on a traveler’s privacy interest in the contents of personal luggage, and does not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. 32 By contrast, taking a suspect to an interrogation room on grounds short of probable cause, retaining his air ticket, and retrieving his luggage without his permission taints consent given under such circumstances to open the luggage, since by then the detention had exceeded the bounds of a permissible Terry investigative stop and amounted to an invalid arrest. 33 But the same requirements for brevity of detention and limited scope of investigation are apparently inapplicable to border searches of international travelers, the Court having approved a 24-hour detention of a traveler suspected of smuggling drugs in her alimentary canal. 34

Search Incident to Arrest .–The common-law rule permitting searches of the person of an arrestee as an incident to the arrest has occasioned little controversy in the Court. 35 The dispute has centered around the scope of the search. Since it was the stated general rule that the scope of a warrantless search must be strictly tied to and justified by the circumstances which rendered its justification permissible, and since it was the rule that the justification of a search of the arrestee was to prevent destruction of evidence and to prevent access to a weapon, 36 it was argued to the court that a search of the person of the defendant arrested for a traffic offense, which discovered heroin in a crumpled cigarette package, was impermissible, inasmuch as there could have been no destructible evidence relating to the offense for which he was arrested and no weapon could have been concealed in the cigarette package. The Court rejected this argument, ruling that ”no additional justification” is required for a custodial arrest of a suspect based on probable cause. 37

However, the Justices have long found themselves embroiled in argument about the scope of the search incident to arrest as it extends beyond the person to the area in which the person is arrested, most commonly either his premises or his vehicle. Certain early cases went both ways on the basis of some fine distinctions, 38 but in Harris v. United States, 39 the Court approved a search of a four-room apartment pursuant to an arrest under warrant for one crime and in which the search turned up evidence of another crime. A year later, in Trupiano v. United States, 40 a raid on a distillery resulted in the arrest of a man found on the premises and a seizure of the equipment; the Court reversed the conviction because the officers had had time to obtain a search warrant and had not done so. ”A search or seizure without a warrant as an incident to a lawful arrest has always been considered to be a strictly limited right. It grows out of the inherent necessities of the situation at the time of the arrest. But there must be something more in the way of necessity than merely a lawful arrest.” 41 This decision was overruled in United States v. Rabinowitz, 42 in which officers arrested defendant in his one-room office pursuant to an arrest warrant and proceeded to search the room completely. The Court observed that the issue was not whether the officers had the time and opportunity to obtain a search warrant but whether the search incident to arrest was reasonable. Though Rabinowitz referred to searches of the area within the arrestee’s ”immediate control,” 43 it provided no standard by which this area was to be determined, and extensive searches were permitted under the rule. 44

In Chimel v. California, 45 however, a narrower view was asserted, the primacy of warrants was again emphasized, and a standard by which the scope of searches pursuant to arrest could be ascertained was set out. ”When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapons that the latter might seek to use in order to resist arrest or effect his
escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction. And the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary items must, of course, be governed by a like rule. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. There is ample justification, therefore, for a search of the arrestee’s person and the area ‘within his immediate control’–construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.

”There is no comparable justification, however, for routinely searching any room other than that in which an arrest occurs–or, for that matter, for searching through all the desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas in that room itself. Such searches, in the absence of well-recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant.” 46

Although the viability of Chimel had been in doubt for some time as the Court refined and applied its analysis of reasonable and justifiable expectations of privacy, 47 it has in some but not all contexts survived the changed rationale. Thus, in Mincey v. Arizona, 48 the Court rejected a state effort to create a ”homicide-scene” exception for a warrantless search of an entire apartment extending over four days. The occupant had been arrested and removed and it was true, the Court observed, that a person legally taken into custody has a lessened right of privacy in his person, but he does not have a lessened right of privacy in his entire house. And, in United States v. Chadwick, 49 emphasizing a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his luggage or other baggage, the Court held that, once police have arrested and immobilized a suspect, validly seized bags are not subject to search without a warrant. 50 Police may, however, in the course of jailing an arrested suspect conduct an inventory search of the individual’s personal effects, including the contents of a shoulder bag, since ”the scope of a station-house search may in some circumstances be even greater than those supporting a search immediately following arrest.” 51

Still purporting to reaffirm Chimel, the Court in New York v. Belton 52 held that police officers who had made a valid arrest of the occupant of a vehicle could make a contemporaneous search of the entire passenger compartment of the automobile, including containers found therein. Believing that a fairly simple rule understandable to authorities in the field was desirable, the Court ruled ”that articles inside the relatively narrow compass of the passenger compartment of an automobile are in fact generally, if not inevitably, within ‘the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary ite[m].”’ 53

Chimel has, however, been qualified by another consideration. Not only may officers search areas within the arrestee’s immediate control in order to alleviate any threat posed by the arrestee, but they may extend that search if there may be a threat posed by ”unseen third parties in the house.” A ”protective sweep” of the entire premises (including an arrestee’s home) may be undertaken on less than probable cause if officers have a ”reasonable belief,” based on ”articulable facts,” that the area to be swept may harbor an individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene. 54

Vehicular Searches .–In the early days of the automobile the Court created an exception for searches of vehicles, holding in Carroll v. United States 55 that vehicles may be searched without warrants if the officer undertaking the search has probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband. The Court explained that the mobility of vehicles would allow them to be quickly moved from the jurisdiction if time were taken to obtain a warrant. 56

Initially the Court limited Carroll’s reach, holding impermissible the warrantless seizure of a parked automobile merely because it is movable, and indicating that vehicles may be stopped only while moving or reasonably contemporaneously with movement. 57 Also, the Court ruled that the search must be reasonably contemporaneous with the stop, so that it was not permissible to remove the vehicle to the stationhouse for a warrantless search at the convenience of the police. 58

The Court next developed a reduced privacy rationale to supplement the mobility rationale, explaining that ”the configuration, use, and regulation of automobiles often may dilute the reasonable expectation of privacy that exists with respect to differently situated property.” 59 ”’One has a lesser expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle because its function is transportation and it seldom serves as one’s residence or as the repository of personal effects. . . . It travels public thoroughfares where both its occupants and its contents are in plain view.”’ 60 While motor homes do serve as residences and as repositories for personal effects, and while their contents are often shielded from public view, the Court extended the automobile exception to them as well, holding that there is a diminished expectation of privacy in a mobile home parked in a parking lot and licensed for vehicular travel, hence ”readily mobile.” 61

The reduced expectancy concept has broadened police powers to conduct automobile searches without warrants, but they still must have probable cause to search a vehicle 62 and they may not make random stops of vehicles on the roads, but instead must base stops of individual vehicles on probable cause or some ”articulable and reasonable suspicion” Supp.5 of traffic or safety violation orsome other criminal activity. Supp.6 By contrast, fixed-checkpoint stops in the absence of any individualized suspicion have been upheld. 64 Once police have validly stopped a vehicle, they may also, based on articulable facts warranting a reasonable belief that weapons may be present, conduct a Terry-type protective search of those portions of the passenger compartment in which a weapon could be placed or hidden. 65 And, in the absence of such reasonable suspicion as to weapons, police may seize contraband and suspicious items ”in plain view” inside the passenger compartment. 66

Once police have probable cause to believe there is contraband in a vehicle, they may remove it from the scene to the stationhouse in order to conduct a search, without thereby being required to obtain a warrant. ”[T]he justification to conduct such a warrantless search does not vanish once the car has been immobilized; nor does it depend upon a reviewing court’s assessment of the likelihood in each particular case that the car would have been driven away, or that its contents would have been tampered with, during the period required for the police to obtain a warrant.” 67 The Justices were evenly divided, however, on the propriety of warrantless seizure of an arrestee’s automobile from a public parking lot several hours after his arrest, its transportation to a police impoundment lot, and the taking of tire casts and exterior paint scrapings. 68 Because of the lessened expectation of privacy, inventory searches of impounded automobiles are justifiable in order to protect public safety and the owner’s property, and any evidence of criminal activity discovered in the course of the inventories is admissible in court. 69

It is not lawful for the police in undertaking a warrantless search of an automobile to extend the search to the passengers therein. 70 But because passengers in an automobile have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the interior area of the car, a warrantless search of the glove compartment and the spaces under the seats, which turned up evidence implicating the passengers, invaded no Fourth Amendment interest of the passengers. 71 Luggage and other closed containers found in automobiles may also be subjected to warrantless searches based on probable cause, the same rule now applying whether the police have probable cause to search only the containers 72 or whether they have probable cause to search the automobile for something capable of being held in the container. 73

Vessel Searches .–Not only is the warrant requirement inapplicable to brief stops of vessels, but also none of the safeguards applicable to stops of automobiles on less than probable cause are necessary predicates to stops of vessels. In United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, 74 the Court upheld a random stop and boarding of a vessel by customs agents, lacking any suspicion of wrongdoing, for purpose of inspecting documentation. The boarding was authorized by statute derived from an act of the First Congress, 75 and hence had ”an impressive historical pedigree” carrying with it a presumption of constitutionality. Moreover, ”important factual differences between vessels located in waters offering ready access to the open sea and automobiles on principal thoroughfares in the border area” justify application of a less restrictive rule for vessel searches. The reason why random stops of vehicles have been held impermissible under the Fourth Amendment, the Court explained, is that stops at fixed checkpoints or roadblocks are both feasible and less subject to abuse of discretion by authorities. ”But no reasonable claim can be made that permanent checkpoints would be practical on waters such as these where vessels can move in any direction at any time and need not follow established ‘avenues’ as automobiles must do.” 76 Because there is a ”substantial” governmental interest in enforcing documentation laws, ”especially in waters where the need to deter or apprehend smugglers is great,” the Court found the ”limited” but not ”minimal” intrusion occasioned by boarding for documentation inspection to be reasonable. 77 Dis senting Justice Brennan argued that the Court for the first time was approving ”a completely random seizure and detention of persons and an entry onto private, noncommercial premises by police officers, without any limitations whatever on the officers’ discretion or any safeguards against abuse.” 78

Footnotes

[Footnote 1] E.g., Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 (1948); McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 453 (1948); Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 528 -29 (1967); G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 352 -53, 355 (1977).

[Footnote 2] American Law Institute, A Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure, Tent. Draft No. 3 (Philadelphia: 1970), xix.

[Footnote 3] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 454 -55 (1971) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967)); G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 352 -53, 358 (1977).

[Footnote 4] Jones v. United States, 357 U.S. 493, 499 (1958).

[Footnote 5] McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 456 (1948). In general, with regard to exceptions to the warrant clause, conduct must be tested by the reasonableness standard enunciated by the first clause of the Amendment, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20 (1968), and the Court’s development of its privacy expectation tests, supra, pp.1206-09, substantially changed the content of that standard.

[Footnote 6] United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411 (1976). See supra, p.1209.

[Footnote 7] Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98 (1959); Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 16 -17 (1948); Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 62 – 63 (1968).

[Footnote 8] ”The police may not arrest upon mere suspicion but only on ‘probable cause.”’ Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449, 454 (1957).

[Footnote 9] 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Only Justice Douglas dissented. Id. at 35.

[Footnote 10] Id. at 16. See id. at 16-20.

[Footnote 11] Id. at 20, 21, 22.

[Footnote 12] Id. at 23-27, 29. See also Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40 (1968) (after policeman observed defendant speak with several known narcotics addicts, he approached him and placed his hand in defendant’s pocket, thus discovering narcotics; impermissible, because he lacked reasonable basis for frisk and in any event his search exceeded permissible scope of weapons frisk); Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972) (acting on tip that defendant was sitting in his car with narcotics and firearm, police approached, asked defendant to step out, and initiated frisk and discovered weapon when he merely rolled window down; justifiable); Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977) (after validly stopping car, officer required defendant to get out of car, observed bulge under his jacket, and frisked him and seized weapon; while officer did not suspect driver of crime or have an articulable basis for safety fears, safety considerations justified his requiring driver to leave car).

[Footnote 3 (1996 Supplement)] Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366 (1993).

[Footnote 4 (1996 Supplement)] Id. at 2237, 2139. In Dickerson the Court held that seizure of a small plastic container that the officer felt in the suspect’s pocket was not justified; the officer should not have continued the search, manipulating the container with his fingers, after determining that no weapon was present.

[Footnote 13] In United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411 (1981), a unanimous Court attempted to capture the ”elusive concept” of the basis for permitting a stop. Officers must have ”articulable reasons” or ”founded suspicions,” derived from the totality of the circumstances. ”Based upon that whole picture the detaining officer must have a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity.” Id. at 417-18. The inquiry is thus quite fact-specific. In the anonymous tip context, the same basic approach requiring some corroboration applies regardless of whether the standard is probable cause or reasonable suspicion; the difference is that less information, or less reliable information, can satisfy the lower standard. Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325 (1990).

[Footnote 14] E.g., Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979) (individual’s presence in high crime area gave officer no articulable basis to suspect him of crime); Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979) (reasonable suspicion of a license or registration violation is necessary to authorize automobile stop; random stops impermissible); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975) (officers could not justify random automobile stop solely on basis of Mexican appearance of occupants); Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980) (no reasonable suspicion for airport stop based on appearance that suspect and another passenger were trying to conceal the fact that they were travelling together). But cf. United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976) (halting vehicles at fixed checkpoints to question occupants as to citizenship and immigration status permissible, even if officers should act on basis of appearance of occupants).

[Footnote 15] Davis v. Mississipp
i, 394 U.S. 721 (1969); Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200 (1979).

[Footnote 16] See, e.g., United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221 (1985) (reasonable suspicion to stop a motorist may be based on a ”wanted flyer” as long as issuance of the flyer has been based on reasonable suspicion); United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1 , (1989) (airport stop based on drug courier profile may rely on a combination of factors that individually may be ”quite consistent with innocent travel”).

[Footnote 17] 392 U.S. at 19 , n.16.

[Footnote 18] United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980).

[Footnote 19] See, e.g., Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983), in which there was no opinion of the Court, but in which the test was used by the plurality of four, id. at 502, and also endorsed by dissenting Justice Blackmun, id. at 514.

[Footnote 20] INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210 (1984).

[Footnote 21] Id. at 221.

[Footnote 22] Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 575 (1988).

[Footnote 23] 499 U.S. 621, 628 (1991). As in Michigan v. Chesternut, supra n.22, the suspect dropped incriminating evidence while being chased.

[Footnote 24] Adherence to this approach would effectively nullify the Court’s earlier position that Fourth Amendment protections extend to ”seizures that involve only a brief detention short of traditional arrest.” United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975), quoted in INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S., 210, 215 (1984).

[Footnote 25] Florida v. Bostick, (1991).

[Footnote 26] Id. at 2387.

[Footnote 27] Id. The Court asserted that the case was ”analytically indistinguishable from Delgado. Like the workers in that case [subjected to the INS ”survey” at their workplace], Bostick’s freedom of movement was restricted by a factor independent of police conduct–i.e., by his being a passenger on a bus.” Id.

[Footnote 28] Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983) (suspect appeared to be under the influence of drugs, officer spied hunting knife exposed on floor of front seat and searched remainder of passenger compartment). Similar reasoning has been applied to uphold a ”protective sweep” of a home in which an arrest is made if arresting officers have a reasonable belief that the area swept may harbor another individual posing a danger to the officers or to others. Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990).

[Footnote 29] United States v. Sharpe, 470 U.S. 675, 686 (1985). A more relaxed standard has been applied to detention of travelers at the border, the Court testing the reasonableness in terms of ”the period of time necessary to either verify or dispel the suspicion.” United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 544 (1985) (approving warrantless detention for more than 24 hours of traveler suspected of alimentary canal drug smuggling).

[Footnote 30] United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 709 (1983).

[Footnote 31] Id. at 706.

[Footnote 32] 462 U.S. at 707 . However, the search in Place was not expeditious, and hence exceeded Fourth Amendment bounds, when agents took 90 minutes to transport luggage to another airport for administration of the canine sniff.

[Footnote 33] Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983). On this much the plurality opinion of Justice White (id. at 503), joined by three other Justices, and the concurring opinion of Justice Brennan (id. at 509) were in agreement.

[Footnote 34] United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531 (1985).

[Footnote 35] Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 392 (1914); Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 158 (1925); Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 30 (1925).

[Footnote 36] Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 (1968); Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 762 , 763 (1969).

[Footnote 37] United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 235 (1973). See also id. at 237-38 (Justice Powell concurring). The Court applied the same rule in Gustafson v. Florida, 414 U.S. 260 (1973), involving a search of a motorist’s person following his custodial arrest for an offense for which a citation would normally have issued. Unlike the situation in Robinson, police regulations did not require the Gustafson officer to take the suspect into custody, nor did a departmental policy guide the officer as to when to conduct a full search. The Court found these differences inconsequential, and left for another day the problem of pretextual arrests in order to obtain basis to search. Soon thereafter, the Court upheld conduct of a similar search at the place of detention, even after a time lapse between the arrest and search. United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800 (1974).

[Footnote 38] Compare Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192 (1927), with Go-Bart Importing Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 344 (1931), and United States v. Lefkowitz, 285 U.S. 452 (1932).

[Footnote 39] 331 U.S. 145 (1947).

[Footnote 40] 334 U.S. 699 (1948).

[Footnote 41] Id. at 708.

[Footnote 42] 339 U.S. 56 (1950).

[Footnote 43] Id. at 64.

[Footnote 44] Cf. Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 764 -65 & n.10 (1969). But in Kremen v. United States, 353 U.S. 346 (1957), the Court held that the seizure of the entire contents of a house and the removal to F.B.I. offices 200 miles away for examination, pursuant to an arrest under warrant of one of the persons found in the house, was unreasonable. In decisions contemporaneous to and subsequent to Chimel, applying pre-Chimel standards because that case was not retroactive, Williams v. United States, 401 U.S. 646 (1971), the Court has applied Rabinowitz somewhat restrictively. See Von Cleef v. New Jersey, 395 U.S. 814 (1969), which followed Kremen; Shipley v. California, 395 U.S. 818 (1969), and Vale v. Louisiana, 399 U.S. 30 (1970) (both involving arrests outside the house with subsequent searches of the house); Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 455 -57 (1971). Substantially extensive searches were, however, approved in Williams v. United States, 401 U.S. 646 (1971), and Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797 (1971).

[Footnote 45] 395 U.S. 752 (1969).

[Footnote 46] Id. at 762-63.

[Footnote 47] Supra, pp.1206-09. See, e.g., Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 492 , 493, 510 (1971), in which the four dissenters advocated the reasonableness argument rejected in Chimel.

[Footnote 48] 437 U.S. 385 (1978). The expectancy distinction is at 391.

[Footnote 49] 433 U.S. 1 (1977). Defendant and his luggage, a footlocker, had been removed to the police station, where the search took place.

[Footnote 50] If, on the other hand, a sealed shipping container had already been opened and resealed during a valid customs inspection, and officers had maintained surveillance through a ”controlled delivery” to the suspect, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the container and officers may search it, upon the arrest of the suspect, without having obtained a warrant. Illinois v. Andreas, 463 U.S. 765 (1983).

[Footnote 51] Illinois v. LaFayette, 462 U.S. 640, 645 (1983) (inventory search) (following South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976)). Similarly, an inventory search of an impounded vehicle may include the contents of a closed container. Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367 (1987). Inventory searches of closed containers must, however, be guided by a police policy con
taining standardized criteria for exercise of discretion. Florida v. Wells, 495 U.S. 1 (1990).

[Footnote 52] 453 U.S. 454 (1981).

[Footnote 53] Id. at 460 (quoting Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 763 (1969)). In this particular instance, Belton had been removed from the automobile and handcuffed, but the Court wished to create a general rule removed from the fact-specific nature of any one case. ”’Container’ here denotes any object capable of holding another object. It thus includes closed or open glove compartments, consoles, or other receptacles located anywhere within the passenger compartment, as well as luggage, boxes, bags, clothing, and the like. Our holding encompasses only the interior of the passenger compartment of an automobile and does not encompass the trunk.” Id. at 460-61 n.4.

[Footnote 54] Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325, 334 (1990). This ”sweep” is not to be a full-blown, ”top-to-bottom” search, but only ”a cursory inspection of those spaces where a person may be found.” Id. at 335-36.

[Footnote 55] 267 U.S. 132 (1925). Carroll was a Prohibition-era liquor case, whereas a great number of modern automobile cases involve drugs.

[Footnote 56] Id. at 153. See also Husty v. United States, 282 U.S. 694 (1931); Scher v. United States, 305 U.S. 251 (1938); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160 (1949). All of these cases involved contraband, but in Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970), the Court, without discussion, and over Justice Harlan’s dissent, id. at 55, 62, extended the rule to evidentiary searches.

[Footnote 57] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 458 -64 (1971). This portion of the opinion had the adherence of a plurality only, Justice Harlan concurring on other grounds, and there being four dissenters. Id. at 493, 504, 510, 523.

[Footnote 58] Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364 (1964); Dyke v. Taylor Implement Mfg. Co., 391 U.S. 216 (1968).

[Footnote 59] Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753, 761 (1979).

[Footnote 60] Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S. 583, 590 (1974) (plurality opinion), quoted in United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 12 (1977). See also United States v. Ortiz, 422 U.S. 891, 896 (1975); United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 561 (1976); South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 367 -68 (1976); Robbins v. California, 453 U.S. 420, 424 -25 (1981); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 807 n.9 (1982).

[Footnote 61] California v. Carney, 471 U.S. 386, 393 (1985) (leaving open the question of whether the automobile exception also applies to a ”mobile” home being used as a residence and not ”readily mobile”).

[Footnote 62] Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266 (1973) (roving patrols); United States v. Ortiz, 422 U.S. 891 (1975). Cf. Colorado v. Bannister, 449 U.S. 1 (1980). An automobile’s ”ready mobility [is] an exigency sufficient to excuse failure to obtain a search warrant once probable cause is clear”; there is no need to find the presence of ”unforeseen circumstances” or other additional exigency. Pennsylvania v. Labron, 116 S. Ct. 2485, 2487 (1996).

[Footnote 5 (1996 Supplement)] Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663 (1979) (discretionary random stops of motorists to check driver’s license and registration papers and safety features of cars constitute Fourth Amendment violation); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975) (violation for rovingpatrols on lookout for illegal aliens to stop vehicles on highways near international borders when only ground for suspicion is that occupants appear to be of Mexican ancestry). In Prouse, the Court cautioned that it was not precluding the States from developing methods for spotchecks, such as questioning all traffic at roadblocks, that involve less intrusion or that do not involve unconstrained exercise of discretion. 440 U.S. at 663.

[Footnote 6 (1996 Supplement)] An officer who observes a traffic violation may stop a vehicle even if his real motivation is to investigate for evidence of other crime. Whren v. United States, 116 S. Ct. 1769 (1996). The existence of probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred establishes the constitutional reasonableness of traffic stops regardless of the actual motivation of the officers involved, and regardless of whether it is customary police practice to stop motorists for the violation observed.

[Footnote 63] Deleted in 1996 Supplement.

[Footnote 64] Michigan Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990) (upholding a sobriety checkpoint at which all motorists are briefly stopped for preliminary questioning and observation for signs of intoxication). See also United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976) (upholding border patrol checkpoint, over 60 miles from the border, for questioning designed to apprehend illegal aliens).

[Footnote 65] Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1049 (1983) (holding that contraband found in the course of such a search is admissible).

[Footnote 66] Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730 (1983). Similarly, since there is no reasonable privacy interest in the vehicle identification number, required by law to be placed on the dashboard so as to be visible through the windshield, police may reach into the passenger compartment to remove items obscuring the number and may seize items in plain view while doing so. New York v. Class, 475 U.S. 106 (1986).

[Footnote 67] Michigan v. Thomas, 458 U.S. 259, 261 (1982). See also Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970); Texas v. White, 423 U.S. 67 (1975); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 807 n.9 (1982).

[Footnote 68] Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S. 583 (1974). Justice Powell concurred on other grounds.

[Footnote 69] Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973); South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976). See also Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58 (1967); United States v. Harris, 390 U.S. 234 (1968). Police, in conducting an inventory search of a vehicle, may open closed containers in order to inventory contents. Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367 (1987).

[Footnote 70] United States v. Di Re, 332 U.S. 581 (1948). While Di Re is now an old case, it appears still to control. See Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85, 94 -96 (1979).

[Footnote 71] Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128 (1978).

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Annotation 3 – Fourth Amendment – FindLaw

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History :: Fourth Amendment–Search and Seizure :: US …

Posted: at 2:44 pm

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

History.Few provisions of the Bill of Rights grew so directly out of the experience of the colonials as the Fourth Amendment, embodying as it did the protection against the utilization of the “writs of assistance.” But while the insistence on freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures as a fundamental right gained expression in the Colonies late and as a result of experience,1 there was also a rich English experience to draw on. “Every man’s house is his castle” was a maxim much celebrated in England, as was demonstrated in Semayne’s Case, decided in 1603.2 A civil case of execution of process, Semayne’s Case nonetheless recognized the right of the homeowner to defend his house against unlawful entry even by the King’s agents, but at the same time recognized the authority of the appropriate officers to break and enter upon notice in order to arrest or to execute the King’s process. Most famous of the English cases was Entick v. Carrington,3 one of a series of civil actions against state officers who, pursuant to general warrants, had raided many homes and other places in search of materials connected with John Wilkes’ polemical pamphlets attacking not only governmental policies but the King himself.4

Entick, an associate of Wilkes, sued because agents had forcibly broken into his house, broken into locked desks and boxes, and seized many printed charts, pamphlets and the like. In an opinion sweeping in terms, the court declared the warrant and the behavior it authorized subversive “of all the comforts of society,” and the issuance of a warrant for the seizure of all of a person’s papers rather than only those alleged to be criminal in nature “contrary to the genius of the law of England.”5 Besides its general character, said the court, the warrant was bad because it was not issued on a showing of probable cause and no record was required to be made of what had been seized. Entick v. Carrington, the Supreme Court has said, is a “great judgment,” “one of the landmarks of English liberty,” “one of the permanent monuments of the British Constitution,” and a guide to an understanding of what the Framers meant in writing the Fourth Amendment.6

In the colonies, smuggling rather than seditious libel afforded the leading examples of the necessity for protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to enforce the revenue laws, English authorities made use of writs of assistance, which were general warrants authorizing the bearer to enter any house or other place to search for and seize “prohibited and uncustomed” goods, and commanding all subjects to assist in these endeavors. The writs once issued remained in force throughout the lifetime of the sovereign and six months thereafter. When, upon the death of George II in 1760, the authorities were required to obtain the issuance of new writs, opposition was led by James Otis, who attacked such writs on libertarian grounds and who asserted the invalidity of the authorizing statutes because they conflicted with English constitutionalism.7 Otis lost and the writs were issued and utilized, but his arguments were much cited in the colonies not only on the immediate subject but also with regard to judicial review.

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The Fourth Amendment – Privacilla

Posted: April 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Home > Privacy and Government > Privacy Law Governing the Public Sector > The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment is the primary, essential limit on the power of governments in the U.S. to inquire into people’s lives, arrest them, and take their property. It is also what prevents governments and their agents from invading citizens’ privacy.

The Fourth Amendment says:

The Fourth Amendment requires a search to be based on probable cause. That is, government investigators must have a rational belief that a crime has been committed and that evidence or fruits of the crime can be found. The question courts will ask when a citizen claims to have been unconstitutionally searched is whether that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place, papers, or information that government agents have examined or taken.

In a society that both deplores crime and values liberty, there will always be a tension between law enforcement interests and the privacy of individuals. The modern age has increased the ability of criminals to hide crime and its proceeds, and law enforcement sometimes struggles to keep up. This sometimes inspires investigative methods that trample on the privacy expectations and Fourth Amendment rights of innocent citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court has not been a powerful guardian of the Fourth Amendment in recent years, further eroding some Fourth Amendment protections.

In addition, the growth of both the U.S. and state governments during the 20th century vastly increased the amount of information that governments collect. When information is collected for “administrative” purposes, like issuing licenses and benefits or collecting taxes, the government does not have to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, sometimes this information is used by investigators, released or sold by government agencies, or just misused by rogue government employees. This invades citizens’ expectations of privacy and violates their Fourth Amendment rights.

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Rescuing Search and Seizure by Stephen Budiansky, The Atlantic Monthly (October 2000)

Comments? comments@privacilla.org (Subject: FourthAmendment)

[updated 10/30/00]

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Annenberg Classroom – Fourth Amendment

Posted: March 10, 2016 at 11:44 pm

Fourth Amendment – The Text The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment – The Meaning Protection against Unreasonable Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials. A search can mean everything from a frisking by a police officer to a blood test to a search of an individuals home or car. A seizure occurs when the government takes control of an individual or something in his or her possession. Items that are seized often are used as evidence when the individual is charged with a crime.

The Fourth Amendment imposes certain limitations on police investigating a crime and prevents the use of illegally obtained evidence at trial. But it does not restrict all searches. For example, courts have ruled that school officials may search school lockers and require that students who participate in extracurricular activities undergo random drug testing.

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Annenberg Classroom – Fourth Amendment

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SCOTUS has two weeks of arguments starting Monday, one a …

Posted: February 19, 2016 at 9:43 pm

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (2015)

by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

2003-16, online since Feb. 24, 2003 real non-robot URL hits since 2010; approx. 18k posts since 2003

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Fourth Amendment cases, citations, and links

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“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn’t, and they don’t.” Me

I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

“I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” Janis Joplin

“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment. Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! —Pep Le Pew

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Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment

Posted: February 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm

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by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

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I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

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“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment. Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! “The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive
enterprise of ferreting out crime.” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)

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Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment

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Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment – Digital …

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Introduction

The explosive growth of digital data in the twenty-first century has been both a boon and a curse for law enforcement. On one hand this growth has heralded a golden age of surveillance owing to the massive amount of information that is available about actual and potential lawbreakers,1E.g., Peter Swire, The Golden Age of Surveillance, Slate (July 15, 2015, 4:12 PM), http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/07/encryption_back_doors_aren_t_necessary_we_re_already_in_a_golden_age_of.html [http://perma.cc/957N-QFL4]. but on the other hand the government now has that much more data to sort through. To search this ever-expanding haystack, the government has adopted various techniques, including algorithmic queries. But in order to apply these queries to search for the needle the government must first collect the hay. One technique that law enforcement has adopted is to take mirror images of digital data for later off-site review.

A persistent question, though, is how the Fourth Amendment applies to both the initial act of duplicating digital data and the continued retention of that data. It goes without saying that the drafters of the Fourth Amendment did not contemplate its application to the digital era. And Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, accordingly, has long since departed from a strict originalist understanding. Beginning with Katz v. United States,2 389 U.S. 347 (1967). the Supreme Court adapted [t]he right of the people to be secure …against unreasonable searches and seizures3U.S. Const. amend. IV. to cover modern technological developments by finding such a violation when the government surreptitiously recorded a phone conversation in a public phone booth.4See Katz, 389 U.S. at 359.

Since then, the Court has considered the Fourth Amendments application to a variety of new technologies ranging from airplane surveillance to thermal imaging.5 See, e.g., United States v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705 (1984) (radio tracking); California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207 (1986) (airplane surveillance); Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445 (1989) (helicopter surveillance); Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) (thermal imaging); United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012) (GPS tracking); Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958 (2013) (DNA swabs); Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014) (cell phones). In Riley v. California,6 134 S. Ct. 2473. for example, the Supreme Court analyzed the application of the Fourth Amendment to searches of a cell phone seized incident to arrest. Noting that modern cell phones contain vast troves of personal information, far beyond what one historically could keep in ones pocket, the Court found that the rationale for the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the warrant requirement did not extend to a cell phones digital contents.7Id. at 249495.

This Note attempts to address a narrow question in modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: should government duplication and retention of electronically stored information be characterized under the Fourth Amendment as a search, as a seizure, as both, or as neither?8 Although this Note does explore Fourth Amendment reasonableness balancing as applied to duplication and retention in Part IV, its primary focus is on the predicate question of whether a search or seizure has even occurred. Duplication and retention arise in many contexts.9 For example, many warrants include temporary seizure provisions that require the government to return seized items after a certain period of time. The government could potentially make a copy of any hard drives seized and retain the copy beyond the warrant period. See, e.g., United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125 (2d Cir. 2014) (finding such conduct a seizure of the data and applying the exclusionary rule), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); cf. United States v. Cote, 72 M.J. 41 (C.A.A.F. 2013) (applying exclusionary rule to exclude evidence obtained from an original hard drive retained beyond the authorized period). Additionally, the technology certainly exists to enable the government to remotely access computers connected to the Internet, potentially allowing remote copying without requiring a physical trespass. Cf. United States v. Gorshkov, No. CR00-550C, 2001 WL 1024026 (W.D. Wash. May 23, 2001). But somewhat shockingly, it is not entirely settled that the government conducts either a search or a seizure when it makes a copy of locally stored data,10 Under current law, information shared with third parties (such as with cloud storage) may lose the veneer of privacy and thus is no longer protected by the Fourth Amendment. See Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743 (1979). This Note focuses on locally stored data for simplicity, but the Court in Riley suggested that the Fourth Amendment protections would apply equally to data stored in the cloud, see 134 S. Ct. at 2491; see also Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 957 (Sotomayor, J., concurring) (noting that the third-party doctrine is ill suited to the digital age); Daniel J. Solove, Digital Dossiers and the Dissipation of Fourth Amendment Privacy, 75 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1083 (2002) (warning against rigid application of this rule in the digital era). and then retains that data without further reviewing it.11 Later review by a government agent would most likely constitute a search. However, because the items being searched are duplicates in government possession, not originals, even this issue may not be fully settled. See Orin S. Kerr, Searches and Seizures in a Digital World, 119 Harv. L. Rev. 531, 56265 (2005). As Justice Sotomayor worries, [t]he Government can store such records and efficiently mine them for information years into the future.12Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 95556 (Sotomayor, J., concurring).

One technique the government has adopted to address the growth of relevant data, a technique which some courts have blessed, is to take a mirror image of a hard drive (or other data repository) on site, leave the original with the owner, and then perform the search off-site at a later time.13 See, e.g., Ganias, 755 F.3d at 135 ([T]he creation of mirror images for offsite review is constitutionally permissible in most instances ….); United States v. Veloz, No. 12-10264, 2015 WL 3540808, at *5 (D. Mass. June 4, 2015); cf. United States v. Tamura, 694 F.2d 591, 59596 (9th Cir. 1982) (noting that off-site review may be appropriate subject to prior approval by a magistrate when on-site review is infeasible). A mirror image is an exact duplicate of the original data, which investigators can then access in a read-only state to avoid altering the data in even the smallest way.14See Scott Carlson, New Challenges for Digital Forensics Experts and the Attorneys Who Work with Them, in Understanding the Legal Issues of Computer Forensics 17, 1920 (2013), 2013 WL 3759817, at *2 (discussing digital forensics procedures). This approach allows the search to proceed with minimal interference in the data owners work or life, since the owner retains the originals. The investigators, for their part, are able to work in their own offices, under their own time constraints. And, because the data was copied exactly and remains unaltered, it is easily authenticated and used as evidence.15See Recent Case, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 743, 74849 (2014) (describing authentication process).

At first blush, it is unclear how mirror-imaging fits into the constitutional landscape. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.16U.S. Const. amend. IV. As the Court recently reiterated in Riley, the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness.17 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 248
2 (2014) (quoting Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006)). However, the government can avoid even that standard if its actions constitute neither a search nor a seizure a prerequisite to Fourth Amendment scrutiny.18 For example, using a trained canine to sniff the exterior of a bag for drugs is not subject to any reasonableness analysis because the Supreme Court has held that such an action is neither a search nor a seizure. See United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 707 (1983); see also Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 409 (2005) (finding that a canine sniff of car stopped for a traffic violation was not a search). But see Florida v. Jardines, 133 S. Ct. 1409, 141718 (2013) (finding a canine sniff on the front porch of home was a search). The mirror-image approach thus raises the question of whether duplication and retention constitutes a search or seizure subject to Fourth Amendment reasonableness requirements.

Answering that question requires determining whether duplication either (a) violates the individuals reasonable expectation of privacy, or (b) interferes with the individuals possessory interest in the information.19See United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). This Note assumes that the individual has an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy without which no search occurs. The caselaw offers no conclusive answers. Indeed, until very recently, it tended to suggest that the Fourth Amendment had no application to duplication because it is neither a search nor a seizure. If the government just copies the data, without looking at it, then there is no invasion of privacy. If the data owner retains the original, then there is no intrusion on possessory interests. These answers, though, seem both unsatisfying and instinctively wrong.

Some courts and commentators have suggested that such duplication should be considered a seizure because it interferes with the individuals right to delete data20See Paul Ohm, The Fourth Amendment Right to Delete, 119 Harv. L. Rev. F. 10 (2005). or right to exclude others from data.21See United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 137 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); Mark Taticchi, Note, Redefining Possessory Interests: Perfect Copies of Information as Fourth Amendment Seizures, 78 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 476 (2010). Others have argued that it is a seizure if it freezes evidence for later review rather than as a memory aid.22See Orin S. Kerr, Fourth Amendment Seizures of Computer Data, 119 Yale L.J. 700, 71415 (2010). While such conceptions subject duplication of electronic data to Fourth Amendment scrutiny, they do so by shoehorning the process into existing precedent on seizures. But the problem with government duplication is not easily conceived of as interference with possessory interests, since the data owner not only retains unfettered rights to the original, but also may not have exclusive rights over much of the data in the first instance. Accordingly, it makes little sense to label such conduct as a seizure.

Instead, this Note proposes, courts should focus on the privacy interests at stake in duplication of that information, and whether government duplication and retention of an individuals private data violates that expectation, and is therefore a search. Privacy, often defined as control over personal information,23See infra section III.A, pp. 105963. is clearly infringed when the government duplicates that information, thus depriving the data owner of control. Viewing duplication as a search would avoid some of the complications that arise from characterizing it as a seizure, such as whether the data owner does in fact have a right to exclusive possession of the particular data.

Part I explores the doctrine surrounding searches and seizures in general terms and examines some background cases analogous to the digital duplication context. Part II considers the arguments advanced by some courts and commentators that digital duplication is properly conceived as a seizure. In Part III, the Note shows why the doctrine supports viewing duplication as a search. Part IV examines some of the consequences that arise from the proposed recharacterization.

Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has been adapted to new technology many times throughout its history.24 See generally Orin S. Kerr, The Fourth Amendment and New Technologies: Constitutional Myths and the Case for Caution, 102 Mich. L. Rev. 801 (2004) (discussing the shifts in the jurisprudence in response to new technologies). As the government has acquired new methods for collecting evidence, courts have adjusted the test for what constitutes a violation.25 Professor Orin Kerr calls this the equilibrium approach to the Fourth Amendment, wherein the Court tries to maintain the status quo between cops and robbers. See Orin S. Kerr, An Equilibrium-Adjustment Theory of the Fourth Amendment, 125 Harv. L. Rev. 476, 486 (2011). Most significantly, in Katz, the Court moved beyond its prior trespass inquiry to bring a listening device on a public phone booth within the Fourth Amendments ambit.26 Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 353 (1967). In several recent cases, the Court, led by Justice Scalia, has revived the trespass inquiry as an additional test for Fourth Amendment violations. See, e.g., United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 953 (2012). Kerr has suggested that, contra Jones, there was no trespass test before Katz. See Orin S. Kerr, The Curious History of Fourth Amendment Searches, 2012 Sup. Ct. Rev. 67, 68. In Kyllo v. United States,27 533 U.S. 27 (2001). the Court ruled that the government searched a home when, from a car on a public way, it used thermal imaging to measure the heat given off from the roof of a home.28Id. at 30, 40. In Riley, the Court imposed strict limitations on the circumstances under which a police officer could search a cell phone incident to arrest.29 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014). But there is little Supreme Court guidance on applying the Fourth Amendment to duplications, and lower courts have had to analogize from old caselaw of questionable relevance in the modern context. Consequently, earlier cases tended to find that duplication constituted neither a search nor a seizure. More recently, however, that trend has reversed itself, and courts have begun to apply Fourth Amendment scrutiny to duplications of digital data.

A. Search or Seizure

The Fourth Amendment regulates both searches and seizures. These are two discrete government actions, each of which is independently subjected to the Constitutions reasonableness requirement. In United States v. Jacobsen,30 466 U.S. 109 (1984). the Court defined a seizure as some meaningful interference with an individuals possessory interests in the property.31Id. at 113. A seizure threatens the individuals interest in retaining possession of property32 Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730, 747 (1983) (Stevens, J., concurring in the judgment); see also United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 716 (1983) (Brennan, J., concurring in the result). and contemplates a forcible dispossession of the owner.33 Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 76 (1906), overruled in part by Murphy v. Waterfront Commn, 378 U.S. 52 (1964).

Jacobsen also defined a search: a search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to consider reasonable is infringed.34 466 U.S. at 113. This definition builds on Justice Harlans concurrence in Katz.35See 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring). Katz unquestionably elevated the importance of privacy to the Fourth Amendment inquiry, and indeed, until United States v. Jones,36 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). pr
ivacy seemed to have attained status as not only the primary but perhaps the exclusive focus of Fourth Amendment search analysis.37Jones renewed the focus on property rights, but as that case illustrates, the property-driven analysis had never been entirely displaced. See, e.g., Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U.S. 56, 62 (1992) ([O]ur cases unmistakably hold that the [Fourth] Amendment protects property as well as privacy.). Although this primacy has been criticized by commentators, there are strong reasons for maintaining a focus on privacy.38 See generally Christopher Slobogin, A Defense of Privacy as the Central Value Protected by the Fourth Amendments Prohibition on Unreasonable Searches, 48 Tex. Tech L. Rev. (forthcoming 2016) (rebutting criticisms of the significance of privacy in Fourth Amendment analysis). In any event, even after Jones, privacy is plainly a part of the search inquiry. If the government has infringed a reasonable expectation of privacy, then it has conducted a search.

But privacy defies easy definition.39 See, e.g., Daniel J. Solove, Understanding Privacy 1011 (2008) (proposing sixteen categories of privacy); see also David Alan Sklansky, Too Much Information: How Not to Think About Privacy and the Fourth Amendment, 102 Calif. L. Rev. 1069, 1113 (2014) (defining privacy as a type of refuge from the government). In general, though, courts and commentators have come to view privacy as determining for oneself when, how and to whom personal information will be disclosed.40 Natl Cable & Telecomms. Assn v. FCC, 555 F.3d 996, 1001 (D.C. Cir. 2009). Privacy is an individuals control of information concerning his or her person.41 U.S. Dept of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 763 (1989). This definition dates back at least to Professor Alan Westins seminal work, published the same year Katz was decided.42See Alan F. Westin, Privacy and Freedom 7 (1967) (defining privacy as the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others). Westins definition has gained traction in Fourth Amendment scholarship.43See Sklansky, supra note 39, at 108384 (describing the dominance of Westins definition in modern academic discourse); see also Harold J. Krent, Of Diaries and Data Banks: Use Restrictions Under the Fourth Amendment, 74 Tex. L. Rev. 49, 51 (1995). Left to debate, of course, is what information is personal and thus private. But so defined, it seems natural to say that an individual has an expectation that she will retain control over the information contained in her data storage device. Whether the expectation is reasonable is illuminated by reference to real and personal property law and societal understandings.44See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 144 n.12 (1978).

A few examples serve to illustrate the dichotomy between searches and seizures. As noted, a seizure occurs when the government meaningfully interferes with an individuals possessory interests.45See United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). If a police officer takes your phone away from you, then that officer has seized your phone. A court reviewing that action would then ask whether that seizure was reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.46 See, e.g., United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 70910 (1983). A search, on the other hand, occurs when the government violates an individuals actual and reasonable expectation of privacy.47See Jacobsen, 466 U.S. at 113; Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring); see also Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740 (1979) (adopting Justice Harlans approach from Katz). Thus, if a police officer looks at your phones contents, such as your contacts list or stored videos, that officer has searched your phone because he has interfered with your control over the personal information contained within. The reviewing court would ask whether that search was reasonable which, as Riley emphasized, generally means pursuant to a warrant.48 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014). If an officer takes your phone from you and then looks at the photos on it, that officer has seized and then searched your phone. By contrast, when the police officer watches you talking on your phone as you walk down Main Street, he has conducted neither a search nor a seizure.49See United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276, 28182 (1983). No reasonable expectation of privacy has been invaded by the officers observations of you in public, and the officers action in no way interferes with your possession of your phone. That action, then, is never subjected to Fourth Amendment reasonableness analysis.50 See, e.g., Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 40810 (2005) (declining to consider the reasonableness of a dog sniff after concluding that the dog sniff was not itself a search).

B. Early Duplication Cases

Arizona v. Hicks51 480 U.S. 321 (1987). concerned duplication but is far removed from the digital context: While searching an apartment for the source of an errant gunshot, a police officer noticed some high-end stereo equipment that he suspected might be stolen and recorded the serial number to check against a police database of stolen equipment.52Id. at 323. The Court quickly discarded the argument that recording the serial number constituted a seizure. The recording did not meaningfully interfere with the defendants possessory interest in the information; because the officer did not confiscate the stereo, he had not interfered with the defendants possession of either the stereo or the serial number.53Id. at 324. The Court nonetheless affirmed the exclusion of the evidence, holding that moving the stereo to reveal the serial number constituted a search, which was unreasonable given the lack of probable cause. Id. at 328.

Some lower courts have also considered duplication in other nondigital contexts, such as photocopies and photographs. Several cases, for example, suggest that photocopying is not a seizure.54See, e.g., United States v. Thomas, 613 F.2d 787, 793 (10th Cir. 1980) (The agents act of photocopying …was not a seizure. A seizure is a taking of property.). But in 2001, in United States v. Gorshkov,55 No. CR00-550C, 2001 WL 1024026 (W.D. Wash. May 23, 2001). the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington addressed head-on the issue of copying digital information. The FBI had obtained the defendants password through a sting operation, and then used the password to remotely access the defendants server.56Id. at *1. Because they feared that the defendants accomplices might delete the information on the server, the FBI remotely copied the information without reviewing it before applying for or obtaining a warrant.57Id. The court ruled that this did not constitute a seizure, noting that the remote copying had absolutely no impact on possessory interests because it did not prevent others from accessing the data.58Id. at *3. The Gorshkov court further noted that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because the defendant was a foreign national whose server was located overseas, id., and that, even if the copying did constitute a search or seizure, it was a reasonable one, id. at *4. In the context of copying the contents of a cell phone temporarily seized incident to arrest, or of imaging a hard drive pursuant to a warrant authorizing seizure of the original, the question may be even clearer59 The Gorshkov court held an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the copying had prevented access by other users. See id. at *3 n.1; see also In re United States, 665 F. Supp. 2d 1210, 1222 (D. Or. 2009)
([T]here was no …meaningful interference due to the nature of electronic information, which can be accessed from multiple locations, by multiple people, simultaneously.). because the original has already been legitimately seized and the owners possession is already precluded.

Gorshkov was not without its detractors, as commentators recognized the potential scope of the Hicks rule if applied to digital duplications. If the government can make duplicates without implicating the Fourth Amendment, it could copy all of our files, which might contain a cache of sensitive personal information,60 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2490 (2014). and then efficiently mine them for information years into the future.61United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 956 (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring).

To fit digital duplications into the Fourth Amendment, some have suggested characterizing duplication and retention as a seizure, relying on property notions of exclusive ownership. Several courts that considered the matter subsequently were similarly unpersuaded by Gorshkovs reasoning, and have considered duplication to be a seizure.

A. The Possessory Rights Argument

Given that there are seemingly greater privacy implications than possessory implications to duplication, it seems strange that the prevailing view is to consider duplications as seizures. But several academic commentators have convincingly focused the arguments on possessory interests by emphasizing application of traditional property concepts to information. Some have looked at how the act of copying interferes with use of the information, and others at how the government might use the information.

Professor Orin Kerr who initially argued that the faithful application of the Hicks rule precluded classifying data duplication generally as a seizure62See Kerr, supra note 11, at 56061. has distinguished between copying-as-freezing (a seizure) and copying-as-an-aid-to-memory (not a seizure).63See Kerr, supra note 22, at 71418. Kerr focuses on the purpose of a seizure to secure evidence for later use to distinguish between copies made for different purposes.64Id. at 710. If data had already been exposed to an agent, then a duplicate of it was just made to aid that agents memory, and was therefore not a seizure.65See id. at 71415. This understanding preserves the rule of Hicks because the officer there had already seen the serial number when he wrote it down.66Id. at 716.

Professors Susan Brenner and Barbara Frederiksen have made two arguments in favor of characterizing duplication as a seizure.67See Susan W. Brenner & Barbara A. Frederiksen, Computer Searches and Seizures: Some Unresolved Issues, 8 Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev. 39, 11113 (2002). First, as Kerr later argued, they note that copying data on a computer, unlike duplications of other mediums, interferes with the access and functioning of the computer, however briefly, during that process.68Id. at 112. Second, they argue that the majority opinion in Katz recognized that information can be seized when it characterized the recording of the conversation as a seizure.69Id. at 111 (citing Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)). Note, however, that the majority opinion is not so clear: although the Court referred to the recording as a search and seizure, it was using the conjunctive term, explicitly quoting the Fourth Amendment itself, to express generally that it fell within the ambit of the Fourth Amendment. See Katz, 389 U.S. at 353. Copying data, even though it leaves the original intact, deprives the owner of something of value and interferes with exclusive use and possession, just as the theft of data does.70 Brenner & Frederiksen, supra note 67, at 112 n.236.

Brenner and Frederiksens first point hasnt gained much traction,71 Ohm has criticized such a limited understanding because, as technology advances, this interference will become less and less. See Ohm, supra note 20, at 17. but several commentators have elaborated on the second. Professor Paul Ohm offers a narrower possessory interest that is infringed by duplication: the right to delete.72See id. As Ohm later elaborated, this right to delete derives from the traditional property right to destroy. See Paul Ohm, The Olmsteadian Seizure Clause: The Fourth Amendment and the Seizure of Intangible Property, 2008 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 2, 6263, https://journals.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/stanford-technology-law-review/online/ohm-olmsteadian-seizure-clause.pdf [http://perma.cc/Q3VN-ZWM6]. Ohm argues that this right attaches to digital data, but that it did not apply in Hicks because that right evaporated once the serial number was in plain view.73 Ohm, supra note 20, at 16. Mark Taticchi argues that the concept of exclusive possession renders exact duplicates a seizure.74See Taticchi, supra note 21, at 496. Taticchi notes that the right to exclude others from data should be limited to exact duplicates, and not extend to summaries or memories, because the degree of interference with exclusive possession is smaller, and a rule applying to notes and memories would be too socially costly and difficult to administer.75Id. at 497.

Although several courts have concluded that duplication is a seizure, few have relied on any explicit possessory-interest analysis. In United States v. Jefferson,76 571 F. Supp. 2d 696 (E.D. Va. 2008). the court found that taking high-resolution photographs of the defendants documents outside the scope of the initial warrant constituted a seizure of the information in those documents.77Id. at 704. The court emphasized that the defendants interests extended to the data contained within the documents, not just the physical documents themselves, and that the photographs interfered with sole possession of that information.78Id. at 70203. In United States v. Metter,79 860 F. Supp. 2d 205 (E.D.N.Y. 2012). the court noted that government possession of an imaged hard drive presents the same privacy concerns as would the governments retention of the original communications,80Id. at 212. and found that the fifteen-month retention of the duplicate was an unreasonable seizure.81Id. In United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc.,82 621 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). the Ninth Circuit affirmed three lower-court orders requiring the United States to return duplicates of information that were made during the execution of a search warrant but that were outside the scope of the original warrant.83See id. at 116667, 1178 (per curiam). The court referred to the information as seized data84E.g., id. at 1168. and seized materials.85E.g., id. at 1169. Although it did not offer any real analysis for why the duplication amounted to a seizure, the court plainly thought it did.86 Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, the provision at issue, treats seizing and copying as separate concepts. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e)(2)(B) (A warrant …may authorize …seizure or copying of electronically stored information. (emphasis added)).

Recently, in United States v. Ganias,87 755 F.3d 125 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015). In its brief for the en banc hearing, the government conceded, [f]or purposes of this appeal, that the mirror-imaging constituted a seizure. Brief on Rehearing En Banc for the United States at 17 n.7, Ganias, No. 12-240 (2d Cir. Aug. 28, 2015), 2015 WL 5112418, at *17 n.7. a panel of the Second Circuit adopted the right to exclusive possession argument. In executing a warrant to search an accountants computer for evidence of his clients potential fraud, investigators imaged three hard drives, which also contained th
e accountants private files.88Ganias, 755 F.3d at 128. Two-and-a-half years later, the investigators obtained a second warrant to search those same files for evidence of the accountants own wrongdoing in a wholly separate crime.89Id. at 130. The accountant, now a defendant, argued that the lengthy retention of his files that were not responsive to the initial warrant constituted an unreasonable seizure even though he retained (and had since destroyed) the originals.90Id. at 13031. The Second Circuit agreed, finding that the defendants possessory interests included the exclusive control over [his] files and that the governments retention of the duplicate meaningfully interfered with that interest and was thus a seizure.91Id. at 137. Because the government retained that data for so long without adequate justification, the seizure was unreasonable.92Id. at 13738. The court did not specify at what point it became unreasonable and noted (with skepticism) that the government might have had legitimate interests in retaining the data, such as for authentication of the hard drive.93Id. at 139. And although the court seemed to emphasize the prolonged period for which the government retained the data, its holding narrowed the importance of that factor by focusing on the use of the retained data for evidence in a future criminal investigation.94Id. at 138. One might expect the legitimate governmental interest in accessing evidence to prosecute a crime to be categorically greater than the interest in authenticating a hard drive in another case. See infra section IV.A, pp. 106466.

B. Why This Might Be Wrong

While this possessory-interest analysis does subject duplication and retention to Fourth Amendment scrutiny, it is a curious way to do it. After all, a seizure does not occur based on every interference with possessory interests, but only upon a meaningful interference.95 United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). If the individual retains the original copy, unaltered, and is free to use (or destroy) that copy as he sees fit, is the impingement on possessory interests (assuming there is one) meaningful? Given the multitude of cases where courts have found either no seizure or else a de minimis seizure when interference with possessory interests was marginal,96 See, e.g., id. at 125 (holding that permanent destruction of small portion of property for drug testing a de minimis intrusion on possessory interest and thus a reasonable seizure); cf. United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980) (suggesting that some limited physical contact might not constitute a seizure); Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 111 (1977) (per curiam) (concluding that intrusion on liberty in asking lawfully stopped driver to get out of car is de minimis). it seems tenuous to argue that this infringement which has no impact on the users own experience with his data is a sufficient interference either to implicate the Fourth Amendment in the first place or ever to be found unreasonable.

Perhaps one reason duplication nonetheless seems to be a seizure is that, after duplication, the government itself now possesses something that it did not possess before. That is, if the government exerts dominion and control97Jacobsen, 466 U.S. at 120. over something, it must have seized it. But this focus on the government is divorced from the doctrine as laid out in Jacobsen, which teaches to assess the infringement on the individuals possession, not the governments gain. Therefore, in order to classify duplication as a seizure, the focus must be on the individuals right to exclusive possession of that which has been duplicated.

With tangible property, duplication would rarely amount to a seizure. If the government makes a duplicate of a coffee mug, one would be hard pressed to say that it infringed on anyones possession of the coffee mug. After all, youre still able to look at it, drink from it, or even destroy it as you see fit.98 Paul Ohm believes otherwise. He suggests that if the government used a Star Trek replicator on steroids to duplicate an entire house and all of its contents, but locked the resulting duplicate in a warehouse without examining it, a court would hold that it was a seizure but not a search. Ohm, supra note 20, at 17; see also id. at 1718. Perhaps this characteristic would be different in the context of intangible property. But except for certain trade secrets or other intangible commercial property, digital data is a nonrivalrous good.99See Adam D. Moore, A Lockean Theory of Intellectual Property Revisited, 49 San Diego L. Rev. 1069, 1091 (2012). A nonrivalrous good is one whose use by others does not reduce the value of the good. See, e.g., Brett M. Frischmann, An Economic Theory of Infrastructure and Commons Management, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 917, 942 (2005). In most instances, the possession of data by another will not undermine the original owners use or enjoyment. Of still more concern is that a data owner might not even have a right to exclusive possession of all the information on her hard drive, such as digital copies of movies, books, and music. If you have a copy of Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged on your hard drive, you have no right to exclusive possession of that books contents. If the government buys its own copy, its ownership in no way infringes on your possession. And if instead it just duplicates your copy, your possession is similarly uninfringed.

If there is no right to exclusive possession, then there is no infringement, and accordingly no seizure, at least as to that information. The right to delete or exclude would not extend to this type of data because it doesnt really belong to the individual. The government should not be able to duplicate an individuals home library to see what books she is reading just because she has no right to exclusive possession of the contents of those books. But the seizure analysis that courts are starting to adopt seems to suggest just such a result.

Focusing on the right to exclude also suggests that individuals might retain that right even after sharing their data publicly. The right to destroy and the right to exclude do not evaporate just because an owner grants temporary access to his property.100Recall Ohms argument that Hicks was rightly decided because the defendants right to delete evaporated upon exposure to the officer. See supra p. 105455. Conceptualizing data retention as a seizure, then, might mean that the government could not retain copies of publicly released information, such as blog posts. Thus, because a blogger often retains ownership over his posts, he presumably could choose to delete the post, and could similarly request that the government delete its copies as well. The owner of the data would assert his right to exclusive possession, and the government intrusion on that right would accordingly render the duplication a seizure.101Though, the seizure might be reasonable: a court might consider the possessory interest weakened by the fact that the data had previously been widely shared. Such an understanding might well mean that the government could not collect and retain data posted publicly unless it first obtained a warrant. But such a rule, however sensible, is inconsistent with the understanding that the police can observe and record what takes place in public without implicating the Fourth Amendment.102 United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276, 28182 (1983). This rule would apply similarly to a conversation in a public place: if recording that conversation counts as seizing it because the speaker has a right to exclude others from the information relayed, then the government presumptively needs a warrant to record i
t, even though the speaker has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

This analysis is not conclusive: a court might say that an individual gives up the right to exclude once he shares the data publicly, just as a court would say that the individual has given up any reasonable expectation of privacy by sharing his information.103See infra section IV.C, p. 1067. But property law questions of these types might arise over and over again,104 One district court found that an individual had no possessory interest in metadata held by a third party, and accordingly found the data was not seized when the government copied it. See Klayman v. Obama, 957 F. Supp. 2d 1, 30 n.41 (D.D.C. 2013), vacated and remanded, 880 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2015). As another example, the government argued in Kyllo v. United States that the defendant had abandoned the heat emanating from the home. See Transcript of Oral Argument at 47, Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) (No. 99-8508), http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/99-8508.pdf [http://perma.cc/52MA-NKP5]; Sarilyn E. Hardee, Note, Why the United States Supreme Courts Ruling in Kyllo v. United States Is Not the Final Word on the Constitutionality of Thermal Imaging, 24 Campbell L. Rev. 53, 61 (2001). and a court would have to consider whether, as to the particular information at issue, the individual actually has a right to exclusive possession.

It may well be that duplications of certain data are seizures, but because the greater concern with duplications is the privacy violation, and because the seizure analysis might not cover all data, it makes more sense to identify duplication as a search. But duplication without actual review is not obviously a search after all, if no person reviews the documents then perhaps there has been no invasion.105 See, e.g., Susan Brenner, Copying as a Seizure (Again), CYB3RCRIM3 (July 15, 2009, 6:31 AM), http://cyb3rcrim3.blogspot.com/2009/07/copying-as-seizure-again.html [http://perma.cc/8YJS-PPGD] (arguing that while defensible arguments support conceptualizing duplication as a search, they stretch the word search too far). The Second Circuit, in the metadata context, adopted a similar view without elaboration. See ACLU v. Clapper, 785 F.3d 787, 801 (2d Cir. 2015) (suggesting that metadata collection should be characterized as a seizure of data, rather than a search). As Ohm argues, the government has a reasonable argument that when it seals the collected data [after duplication], it stops short of invading or intruding on the data owners privacy.106 Ohm, supra note 72, 53. True enough, but the government also has a reasonable argument that when it leaves the original intact and in the owners possession, it stops short of interfering with the owners possessory interests. This is not to discard the critique entirely, but merely to emphasize that courts are in uncharted waters here and can draw the lines where they make the most sense.

A. Privacy and Duplications

Courts clearly recognize that it is privacy that is at stake in duplication,107 Even the courts that conclude that duplication is a seizure emphasize the privacy interests at stake. For example, in Ganias, the Second Circuit panel characterized its challenge as adapt[ing] traditional Fourth Amendment concepts to the modern era [b]ecause the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been impacted by the advance of technology. United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 134 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015). In Metter, the court emphasized that a data owner has identical privacy concerns with the governments retention of the imaged document. United States v. Metter, 860 F. Supp. 2d 205, 212 (E.D.N.Y. 2012). And in Jefferson, the court noted that the Fourth Amendment privacy interest extends…to the information itself, United States v. Jefferson, 571 F. Supp. 2d 696, 702 (E.D. Va. 2008), and that taking notes or photographs necessarily diminishes the privacy value of information once privately-held, id. at 703. which probably follows most peoples intuition: we dont want the government to have copies of our files because we dont trust it not to read them. It therefore seems more natural to conceptualize duplication as an invasion of privacy and therefore a search than as an invasion of possessory interests. And, despite some lower courts characterization of duplication as a seizure, the Courts doctrine strongly suggests that duplication is indeed a search. Recall that, under Katz (as filtered through the years), a search is an action that violates an individuals reasonable expectation of privacy.108 Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring); see also United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). Accepting Westins definition of privacy as control over information,109Westin, supra note 42, at 7. it is an easy step to say that duplication interferes with an individuals reasonable expectation of control over personal information.

Given the focus in Jefferson, Metter, and Ganias on privacy, the conclusion in those cases that duplication was a seizure is somewhat surprising. Indeed, the Ganias panel, for example, parroted Westins definition of privacy when it proclaimed that the retention was an interference with the owners control over [his] files.110Ganias, 755 F.3d at 137. These cases nonetheless found an infringement on property rights, and then concluded that a seizure had occurred. But searches are often defined in relation to property law. And as the Court elaborated in Rakas v. Illinois,111 439 U.S. 128 (1978). the fact that an individual can exclude others strongly suggests that the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.112See id. at 149; see also id. at 143 n.12. This conception is consistent with Justice Harlans discussion in Katz, which recognized that although the decision departed from the original trespass inquiry, it ultimately concluded by reference to places.113Katz, 389 U.S. at 361 (Harlan, J., concurring); see also Peter Winn, Katz and the Origins of the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Test, 40 McGeorge L. Rev. 1, 8 (2009). Thus, a court having recognized the privacy interests at stake then might, and indeed should, consider whether tenets of property law suggest that an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that context.114 See, e.g., Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 183 (1984) (The existence of a property right is but one element in determining whether expectations of privacy are legitimate.). The Courts second test for whether or not a search has occurred, advanced in United States v. Jones115 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). and Florida v. Jardines,116 133 S. Ct. 1409 (2013). asks whether the Government obtain[ed] information by physically intruding on persons, houses, papers, or effects.117Id. at 1414 (quoting Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 950 n.3). In Jones, Justice Scalia applied founding-era trespass principles to the governments placement of a GPS device on a defendants car to classify it as a search.118Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 94950, 953. This reasoning promotes the underlying purpose of the Fourth Amendment search restrictions, to protect the right of the people to be secure, to protect, that is, individual privacy. Property law principles, then, can operate as a shortcut for determining whether an invasion of privacy a search has occurred.

In Ganias, for example, the panel focused on the infringement of the individuals right to exclude others from his property. But this infringement does not necessarily result in the action being a seizure. In Jones, the Court did not find th
at the government had seized the defendants car by placing a GPS tracker on it even though this interfered with the defendants right to exclude others from his property.119See id. at 949; id. at 958 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment) (The Court does not contend that there was a seizure.). Instead, the Court viewed violation of the right to exclude as evidence to support its conclusion that a search had occurred.120Id. at 949 (majority opinion). In the digital context, then, the property law analogues are useful in determining whether a search occurred, either under the trespass test121See Jardines, 133 S. Ct. at 1414 (noting that a search occurs when government obtains information by invading a constitutionally protected place (quoting Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 950 n.3)). or because they illuminate the reasonableness of expectation of privacy.122See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 149 (1978).

There are two complications to this conception, however. First, in United States v. Karo,123 468 U.S. 705 (1984). the Supreme Court explicitly rejected the notion that potential, as opposed to actual, invasions of privacy constitute searches for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.124Id. at 712. Second, if duplication of data is an invasion of privacy because of the potential that the government will read it, then many actions currently classified as seizures also become searches. If the government seizes a filing cabinet without opening it, for example, then risks to the privacy of the cabinets contents still attach. These hurdles should be cleared, though, by recognition that duplication does not just risk violation, but is in fact itself a violation of privacy, because duplication inherently reduces ones ability to control her information.

In Karo, the police had given to the defendant a can of ether containing a hidden tracking device.125Id. at 708. The Court ruled that this delivery did not constitute a search because the beeper was unmonitored at that time.126Id. at 712. Kerr argues that this holding indicates that a search has not occurred until the data is observed by an actual person.127See Kerr, supra note 11, at 554. But additional language in Karo calls this conclusion into question: It is the exploitation of technological advances that implicates the Fourth Amendment, not their mere existence.128Karo, 468 U.S. at 712. Indeed, what the Court meant by unmonitored was not that no one was actually reviewing the data at that time, but rather that the device was not passing any information to the police.129Id. (noting that the beeper conveyed no information that Karo wished to keep private, for it conveyed no information at all). The Court did not address, for example, the governments recording location data and then viewing it later. In that situation, the government would have been exploiting the technology immediately, even if an actual person did not immediately review it. As soon as the data personal information about movements is recorded, the individual has lost control over that information.

Similarly, in Kyllo, the Court ruled that a police officer who had used a thermal imager to measure heat radiating from a house had performed a search.130 Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 40 (2001). But if the technology had not immediately relayed that information to the officer if the officer had needed to return to the station to analyze the data collected the search would still have occurred upon collection rather than review. Once the data is recorded, the information is beyond the control of the data owner.

These situations are analogous to digital duplication in that the invasion of privacy happens at the time of collection or duplication, not only upon later review. Duplication of private information is an active though often automated process, done at the direction of the government agent. A duplication is itself an exploitation of [a] technological advance[].131Karo, 468 U.S. at 712. Relying on the analogy of the government digitally rooting around illustrates some of the problems with extending nondigital concepts to the digital world. See Brenner, supra note 105. Although the idea is appealing, the results are less so. Cf. Tron (Walt Disney Productions 1982).

By contrast, when the government seizes a filing cabinet,132Cf. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977) (finding that police needed a warrant to open search a lawfully seized footlocker). it has not yet directed anything at the information within. This may mean that seizing a filing cabinet is not also a search of its contents. Only when the government directs its technology at an individuals private information does it invade that individuals reasonable expectation of privacy and accordingly perform a search. On the other hand, perhaps we should consider the seizure of a filing cabinet as also a search of its contents this action plainly should be subject to Fourth Amendment review, and there is no pressing reason to reject a belt and suspenders approach when both privacy and possessory interests are infringed. Thus, neither the Courts seemingly limiting language in Karo that potential invasions do not implicate the Fourth Amendment nor the implication that certain seizures may also be searches undermines the classification of duplications as searches.

B. Retention

One might, then, view the act of duplication as a search, and duplication and subsequent retention as a search and seizure.133Cf. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 354 (1967) (characterizing the recording and listening to of private conversations as a search and seizure (emphasis added)); Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41, 54 (1967) (same). This approach seems natural because, if the government possesses something, it must have seized it. But, as mentioned above, such logic reverses the Fourth Amendment seizure inquiry, which focuses not on whether the government possesses something, but rather on whether the governments action was a meaningful interference with an individuals possessory interests.134 United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). Thus, it is at least ambiguous whether retention constitutes a seizure.135See supra section II.B, pp. 105659.

But retention likely is a search. In Klayman v. Obama,136 957 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2013), vacated and remanded, 800 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2015). for example, the district court held that bulk metadata collection efforts constituted a search.137Id. at 32. While several factors contributed to the courts conclusion, the retention of data was itself considered a part of the Fourth Amendment search.138 The court found that the plaintiffs had no possessory interest in metadata held by a third party, and accordingly found no seizure. See id. at 30 n.41. This result illustrates the limits of the possessory interest framework discussed above in section II.B. The court ordered the government not to stop its analysis of the data, but rather to destroy any such metadata in its possession.139Id. at 43. The retention is itself an ongoing violation of privacy in fact, copying without retention is not much of a violation of privacy at all.140 Though it may still be a search, duplication without retention is probably de minimis or otherwise reasonable. See infra, section IV.B, pp. 106667.

One feature of Fourth Amendment search jurisprudence is the inability, once a search is completed, to revoke consent.141See, e.g., United States v. Lattimore, 87 F.3d 647, 65152 (4th Cir. 1996). Thus, if an individual consents to duplication of his data, he may not be able to revoke that consent once the copying is complete.142 The same would result if the initial copy
ing were authorized by warrant or a warrant exception: if the search ends when the copying is complete, the government would need no further justification for retaining the data. This anomaly makes viewing data retention as a seizure appealing to civil libertarians because such a conception would allow the data owner to rescind consent and recover sole possession of her data at any time.143See Taticchi, supra note 21, at 48384. But because copying and continued retention of the data each interfere with control over personal information, each is a search. When consent is revoked, therefore, the ongoing retention must end.

On the other hand, if duplication is a seizure because it interferes with the right to delete144See Ohm, supra note 20, at 1112; Ohm, supra note 72, 6167. or exclusive possession,145See United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 137 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); see also Taticchi, supra note 21, at 496. then the protection would not extend to information the individual doesnt own. Movies, for example, to which the hard drive owner has no right to exclusive possession, might be excluded from any seizure analysis.146See supra pp. 105758. Yet even if an individual has no claim to exclusive ownership, she does have a privacy interest in her files including keeping private the information that reveals what movies, music, or books she owns. By viewing data retention as a search instead of a seizure, the individual can demand deletion because she retains a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information, whether or not she owns it.

Because privacy refers to an individuals control over information, and retention interferes with that control, retention is an invasion of privacy, and thus a search. The consequence of the government possessing a copy is exactly the same: a loss of control over the data.

Several consequences flow from identifying duplication and retention as a search, rather than a seizure. For example, as discussed above, consent, and more particularly the right to revoke consent, plays a different role in searches than in seizures. In addition, the different nature of government intrusion affects both the reasonableness analysis and the de minimis analysis. Finally, classifying duplication as a search has different implications for data that has been shared publicly. This Part examines these additional consequences in turn.

A. Duplications and Reasonableness

The Fourth Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches and seizures. Duplicating information might be a search, but that conclusion does not necessarily render the action a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Rather, it merely subjects the action to Fourth Amendment reasonableness analysis. The reasonableness of a search is determined by weighing the degree to which it intrudes upon an individuals privacy against the degree to which it is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.147 Wyoming v. Houghton, 526 U.S. 295, 300 (1999).

Because the privacy interest violated can vary with the governments use of the data, courts can more easily conduct reasonableness balancing when the government asserts a need for the data for some purpose other than as evidence. Recall that in Ganias the government argued it might need to retain nonresponsive data for authentication purposes.148See Ganias, 755 F.3d at 139. If retention of data is a seizure, then the individuals interest is binary: her right to delete or exclude is fully infringed regardless of the purpose for which the government retains her data. The individual-interest side of the balance varies only with the length of time of the infringement.149See United States v. LaFrance, 879 F.2d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 1989). As that court noted, the nature and extent of the intrusion matter as well. Id. (quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 705 (1983)). But in the duplication-as-seizure context, that nature is already defined as the infringement on the right to exclude or delete, and thus the intrusiveness of the duplication, conceived as a seizure, varies only with the length of time of the infringement. Thus, in Ganias, for example, the individuals side of the balance contained only the right to exclusive possession infringed by ongoing retention, regardless of what the government did with the data: whether the government used the data for authentication, as evidence in the initial contract fraud prosecution, or as evidence in the subsequent tax fraud prosecution, the infringement on Ganiass possessory interests was the same.

If the retention is a search, however, then the individuals interest more naturally varies with the governments use of the data. Thus, a court could recognize the data retention as a search, but find that it is reasonable so long as it is for the limited purpose of authentication. Retention for any other purpose might be unreasonable because of the correspondingly greater infringement on privacy interests, and thus any evidence obtained from an unreasonable use of the duplicated data could be subject to the exclusionary rule.150Cf. Ganias, 755 F.3d at 14041 (applying exclusionary rule to unreasonable seizure of data).

In Riley, the government argued that it might need to search a cell phone immediately out of concern that the data could be remotely deleted.151 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2486 (2014). The Court was unconvinced, citing the availability of technology that could stop remote deletion.152Id. at 2487. Another approach to the deletion concern might be digital duplication of the phones contents. Under the analysis laid out in this Note, this duplication would plainly be a search. But the flexibility of the search reasonableness analysis applies with equal force here. Merely copying a phone to preserve it from remote wiping, pursuant to the exigent circumstance of imminent deletion, might be a reasonable search. Because the invasion of privacy is less than when the officer actually examines the phones contents, the governments countervailing interest in preserving the data might render the action reasonable. But the extent of the interference with privacy also varies, like a seizure, with the length of time of the interference. The longer the information is out of the individuals control, the greater the interference. Thus, at a certain point, the warrantless retention of the copy would become unreasonable.

Of course, classifying duplication as a search, rather than as a seizure, may not affect the ultimate outcome of the reasonableness analysis in this context. If duplication is a seizure because it interferes with the right to exclusive possession, it may still be reasonable to make a seizure to prevent remote wiping. The key difference, though, is that the infringement on exclusive possession varies only with the length of the infringement. In a close case, what the government does with the duplicated data that it has reasonably seized does not affect the reasonableness of the seizure. Once the government interests overcome the invasion of the right to exclusive possession, any subsequent action doesnt alter this fundamental balancing.153 Orin Kerr presents a slightly different take, at least in the context of subsequent searches of nonresponsive data, as occurred in both Ganias and CDT. See Orin S. Kerr, Executing Warrants for Digital Evidence: The Case for Use Restrictions on Nonresponsive Data, 48 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 2932 (forthcoming 2016). Kerr argues that the subsequent use of nonresponsive data obtained in the execution of an initial warrant converts that first warrant into a general warrant. Id. at 31. He does not apply the
traditional reasonableness balancing test, but instead relies on the Warrant Clause. See U.S. Const. amend. IV ([N]o Warrants shall issue, but …particularly describing the …things to be seized.).

B. De Minimis Searches

As Kerr explains, a computer, in the course of its normal function, must make copies for internal use. If this internal duplication is a search, it would presumptively require a warrant.154See Kerr, supra note 11, at 551. But preexisting concepts in search jurisprudence mitigate this concern. The copying that is intrinsic to computer use could be conceived of as a de minimis violation that is either no intrusion at all, or such a minor violation that it is presumptively reasonable.155Cf. Jeffrey Brown, How Much Is Too Much? The Application of the De Minimis Doctrine to the Fourth Amendment, 82 Miss. L.J. 1097, 1109 (2012). Because such internal copying is temporary, never subject to the computer users control, and never even at risk of exposure, it can easily be considered de minimis. If it interferes with the data owners control over his information, this interference is small and temporary. This type of copying, even if it should be considered a search insofar as it is directed at private information, is a reasonable search given the low level of violation and its necessity to the operation of a computer. The same analysis might also apply, of course, in the seizure context: the impingement on the right to exclude is so temporary that it may be a de minimis seizure.

C. Publicized Information

As discussed above in section II.B, classifying duplication and retention as a seizure might mean that the government could not retain copies of publicly released information, such as blog posts. By viewing data duplication and retention as searches, though, the government could retain publicly posted information without a warrant. This is so because, by posting them in a public forum, the blogger loses any reasonable expectation of privacy.156Cf. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967) (What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.). That is, by sharing the information with the world, the individual gave up control. To obtain this information from the Internet, the government need not commit any violations of property law, such as trespass, which might otherwise suggest that the data owner retained a reasonable expectation of privacy. Thus, collection of such data would not constitute a search at all and would not be subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. While there might be reasons to limit broad electronic trawling of the public Internet, they cannot be located in the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment protects people from two things: unreasonable seizures and unreasonable searches. It is important to recognize these as distinct protections lest the value of the protections deteriorate. A seizure is best viewed as a dispossession of property, and a search as an invasion of privacy. There may well be times when these two overlap, and often a seizure will include risks to privacy. Viewing collection of data only as a seizure would dramatically reduce the Fourth Amendments protections over vast amounts of personal, private information in which the individual may have no cognizable property interests. The government could conceivably collect private information that does not have a property component such as the heat signatures in Kyllo or the titles of the books in private libraries with impunity as long as it doesnt review the data. Instead, we should recognize these invasions of privacy, reviewed by a government agent or not, for what they are: Fourth Amendment searches.

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Posted: February 3, 2016 at 6:43 pm

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (2015)

by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

2003-16, online since Feb. 24, 2003 real non-robot URL hits since 2010; approx. 18k posts since 2003

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Fourth Amendment cases, citations, and links

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General (many free): LexisWeb Google Scholar | Google LexisOne Legal Website Directory Crimelynx Lexis.com $ Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $ Findlaw.com Findlaw.com (4th Amd) Westlaw.com $ F.R.Crim.P. 41 http://www.fd.org FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf) DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download) DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf) Stringrays (ACLU No. Cal.) (pdf)

Congressional Research Service: –Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012) ACLU on privacy Privacy Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation NACDLs Domestic Drone Information Center Electronic Privacy Information Center Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.) Section 1983 Blog

“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn’t, and they don’t.” Me

I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

“I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” Janis Joplin

“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment. Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! “The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive
enterprise of ferreting out crime.” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)

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