Posts Tagged ‘Fourth Amendment’


With all the blatant violations of U.S. law, including warrantless wiretapping (Fourth Amendment), the denial of a speedy trial (Fifth Amendment), habeas corpus (Article I, Section 9) for Guantanimo detainees and others, and the lack of federal prosecution for such crimes, my question is: where are the grand juries?

According to the American Bar Association, as of 2008, six states allowed for citizens to petition to impanel a grand jury. They are Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, Nebraska and Nevada.

In Kansas, which was said to have been using it most actively at the time:

Convening a grand jury there requires citizen signatures amounting to just over 2 percent of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for state governor.

In one famous case, that only required 4000 signatures.

If a grand jury were to be impaneled in any of those states, it would be able to indict individuals for obvious crimes against the Constitution by anyone operating in those states. Indictment for warrantless wiretapping should be the most likely of the crimes I mentioned because the infrastructure for wiretapping is set up across the country, and the issue lacks the politically charged nature of the violations of the Constitution involving the Guantanimo detainees that political opportunists would seize upon to thwart such attempts.

For those upset with President Obama accepting the excuse used — and ultimately rejected in the Nuremberg trials — of just following orders, these state grand jury laws provide a way for individual citizens to hold their government officials accountable when their elected representatives won’t.

For more on the power of juries, see my article Jury nullification.

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The Cornell Law School Library

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary and Father of Reaganomics, makes a point of highlighting the silence of law schools and bar associations in the face of repeated bi-partisan unconstitutional assaults on the liberties of Americans since 9/11.

Cornell University Law School, one of the most prestigious U.S. law schools, states in the Fourth Amendment section of their Law Dictionary:

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress and the President enacted legislation to strengthen the intelligence gathering community’s ability to combat domestic terrorism.

That reads to me like a joint White House and Congressional press release.

They go on to mention sneak-and-peek warrants:

A sneak-and-peak warrant is a warrant in which law enforcement can delay notifying the property owner about the warrant’s issuance. In an Oregon federal district court case that drew national attention, Judge Ann Aiken struck down the use of sneak-and-peak warrants as unconstitutionally violative of the Fourth Amendment. See 504 F.Supp.2d 1023 (D. Or. 2007).

Note how they don’t take a position on the constitutionality of sneak-and-peek warrants, and simply refer to the judicial decision of one judge, as if it’s a gray issue and their graduates and professors who have served or are serving in government haven’t taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Being a law school they should be well familiar with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. Indeed they are, as they start their section by quoting it in full.

Nowhere in their section do they mention roving wiretaps, which are clearly unconstitutional, since the Fourth Amendment requires the warrant to particularly describe “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” while roving wiretaps follow, for example, someone who repeatedly uses new cellphones to evade detection.

To me, silence in the face of these violations is acceptance, especially by those institutions which claim to promote a deeper study and understanding of law.

The Constitution lays out a lawful and legal path for any changes, and that’s through Article V, as has been used 27 times to date.

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Google has a tool for tracking government requests directed to Google and YouTube. From http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/:

Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products. The map shows the number of requests that we received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.

Rounding out the top five countries with data requests were: Brazil (3663), United States (3580), United Kingdom (1166), India (1061), and Germany (458).

The top five countries with removal requests were: Brazil (291), Germany (188), India (142), United States (123) and South Korea (64).

Canada had 41 data requests and 16 removal requests, 43.8% of which have been fully or partially complied with.

What stands out the most for me, are the removal requests without a court order, in the United States particularly, given the constitutional requirement for a warrant.

For web search result removal requests without a court order, there were five in the U.S. and one in Canada. No information is given as to the status of any of the removal requests, so we don’t know whether they were complied with to any degree.

This should especially be of concern, given that Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Google’s mission is to store all the world’s information.

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