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OPINION
January 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As President Obama ponders a task force's recommendations for reining in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, a federal judge in New York has allowed another government agency to invade the privacy of Americans. Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may confiscate and examine the contents of laptop computers of Americans returning to the country even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of criminal activity.
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OPINION
January 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As President Obama ponders a task force's recommendations for reining in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, a federal judge in New York has allowed another government agency to invade the privacy of Americans. Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may confiscate and examine the contents of laptop computers of Americans returning to the country even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of criminal activity.
OPINION
April 4, 2012
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that people arrested over traffic and other minor offenses can be strip-searched even if there is no reasonable suspicion that they are concealing weapons or contraband. But the court's decision goes too far. Jailers have a responsibility to make sure that their facilities are secure, but they can do so without the blanket authority the court has given them. The decision was a defeat for Albert Florence, a finance director for a car dealership who was on his way to a family celebration when a New Jersey state trooper stopped his car and, after finding that he had an outstanding warrant, arrested him. The warrant had been issued because of a fine that he actually had paid.
OPINION
September 29, 2008
Should U.S. citizens returning from abroad be forced to surrender their laptop computers to the prying eyes of customs agents, even when there is no reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed? Two federal appeals courts say yes. If the Supreme Court doesn't rule otherwise, Congress should act to curb this exponential invasion of privacy. Since the 9/11 attacks, air travelers have reconciled themselves to more prolonged and intrusive searches.
OPINION
September 13, 2010
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged in court the Department of Homeland Security's policy of allowing customs agents to seize and view the contents of laptops and other electronic devices without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. The lawsuit is a worthy attempt to close a gaping loophole in the protection of personal privacy. But courts so far have been inhospitable to such claims, which is why Congress must act. According to the ACLU's complaint, between Oct. 1, 2008, and June 2, 2010, more than 6,500 travelers — nearly 3,000 of them U.S. citizens — had their electronic devices searched as they crossed U.S. borders under policies promulgated by two Homeland Security agencies: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
OPINION
October 14, 2011
Should a jailer have a reasonable suspicion that an inmate arrested for a minor offense is carrying contraband before subjecting him to a strip search? The wisdom of such a policy is obvious. But during oral arguments at the Supreme Court this week, the justices engaged in dismissive hairsplitting about when and whether a corrections officer should be able to see a prisoner naked. They shouldn't allow themselves to be distracted from the real issue. Albert Florence was on his way to a family celebration when a New Jersey state trooper stopped his car and, after finding that he had an outstanding warrant, arrested him. The warrant for Florence had been issued because of an unpaid fine that he actually had paid.
OPINION
April 4, 2012
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that people arrested over traffic and other minor offenses can be strip-searched even if there is no reasonable suspicion that they are concealing weapons or contraband. But the court's decision goes too far. Jailers have a responsibility to make sure that their facilities are secure, but they can do so without the blanket authority the court has given them. The decision was a defeat for Albert Florence, a finance director for a car dealership who was on his way to a family celebration when a New Jersey state trooper stopped his car and, after finding that he had an outstanding warrant, arrested him. The warrant had been issued because of a fine that he actually had paid.
NEWS
April 20, 1999 | From Associated Press
A jury awarded $755,000 in damages Monday to a transsexual who was strip-searched by sheriff's deputies to confirm her gender. The seven-member U.S. District Court panel awarded Victoria Schneider $750,000 for emotional pain and suffering for the strip-search at the county jail on June 13, 1996. They also imposed $5,000 in punitive damages against Deputy Fred Lew for ordering the search. After the verdict, Schneider told the jury that it was "life transforming" that they believed her.
OPINION
April 18, 2002
Re "It's School, Not Prison," editorial, April 15: The Supreme Court has upheld suspicionless searches to conduct drug testing of railroad personnel involved in train accidents, to conduct random drug testing of federal customs officers who carry arms or are involved in drug interdiction and to maintain automobile checkpoints looking for illegal immigrants and contraband. While students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, the nature of those rights is what is appropriate for children at school.
OPINION
October 14, 2011
Should a jailer have a reasonable suspicion that an inmate arrested for a minor offense is carrying contraband before subjecting him to a strip search? The wisdom of such a policy is obvious. But during oral arguments at the Supreme Court this week, the justices engaged in dismissive hairsplitting about when and whether a corrections officer should be able to see a prisoner naked. They shouldn't allow themselves to be distracted from the real issue. Albert Florence was on his way to a family celebration when a New Jersey state trooper stopped his car and, after finding that he had an outstanding warrant, arrested him. The warrant for Florence had been issued because of an unpaid fine that he actually had paid.
OPINION
September 13, 2010
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged in court the Department of Homeland Security's policy of allowing customs agents to seize and view the contents of laptops and other electronic devices without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. The lawsuit is a worthy attempt to close a gaping loophole in the protection of personal privacy. But courts so far have been inhospitable to such claims, which is why Congress must act. According to the ACLU's complaint, between Oct. 1, 2008, and June 2, 2010, more than 6,500 travelers — nearly 3,000 of them U.S. citizens — had their electronic devices searched as they crossed U.S. borders under policies promulgated by two Homeland Security agencies: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
NATIONAL
April 13, 2010 | By Nicholas Riccardi
Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday approved what foes and supporters agree is the toughest measure in the country against illegal immigrants, directing local police to determine whether people are in the country legally. The measure, long sought by opponents of illegal immigration, passed 35 to 21 in the state House of Representatives. The state Senate passed a similar measure earlier this year, and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to sign the bill. The bill's author, State Sen. Russell Pearce, said it simply "takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement and lets them do their job."
OPINION
September 29, 2008
Should U.S. citizens returning from abroad be forced to surrender their laptop computers to the prying eyes of customs agents, even when there is no reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed? Two federal appeals courts say yes. If the Supreme Court doesn't rule otherwise, Congress should act to curb this exponential invasion of privacy. Since the 9/11 attacks, air travelers have reconciled themselves to more prolonged and intrusive searches.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2006 | John Spano, Times Staff Writer
Police officers can stop and search a parolee even if he has done little or nothing to arouse suspicion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. The 6-3 decision upholds a California law that allows the spot search of known parolees by law enforcement officers without reasonable suspicion of a crime -- the standard required in most other states.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2003 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
A federal appeals court, sharply divided over what society can do to protect itself against crime, ruled Wednesday that police searches of thousands of California parolees are unconstitutional. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco barred searches of parolees' homes unless there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2003 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
A federal appeals court, sharply divided over what society can do to protect itself against crime, ruled Wednesday that police searches of thousands of California parolees are unconstitutional. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco barred searches of parolees' homes unless there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2006 | John Spano, Times Staff Writer
Police officers can stop and search a parolee even if he has done little or nothing to arouse suspicion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. The 6-3 decision upholds a California law that allows the spot search of known parolees by law enforcement officers without reasonable suspicion of a crime -- the standard required in most other states.
OPINION
April 18, 2002
Re "It's School, Not Prison," editorial, April 15: The Supreme Court has upheld suspicionless searches to conduct drug testing of railroad personnel involved in train accidents, to conduct random drug testing of federal customs officers who carry arms or are involved in drug interdiction and to maintain automobile checkpoints looking for illegal immigrants and contraband. While students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, the nature of those rights is what is appropriate for children at school.
NEWS
January 16, 2002 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Supreme Court reaffirmed Tuesday that police have broad leeway in deciding when to pull over vehicles and that they may rely on innocent-looking actions as grounds for their suspicions. Even slowing down at the sight of a parked squad car or driving a minivan can be a factor that weighs in favor of stopping a motorist, the justices said.
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