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Search And Seizure

November 28, 2005 | Naomi S. Baron, NAOMI S. BARON is a professor of linguistics at American University in Washington.
A FEW YEARS BACK, I asked my undergraduates to read Robert Putnam's "Bowling Alone." The class was discussing the effects of the Internet on social interaction, and Putnam's carefully documented analysis of the breakdown of Americans' connections to one another offered a good frame of reference. The students balked. Was I aware that the book was 541 pages long? Didn't I know Putnam had written a precis of his argument a couple of years earlier, which they easily found on the Web?
September 1, 2005 | From Reuters
A controversial provision in the Patriot Act that allows authorities to search citizens' personal records faced its first public challenge in federal court Wednesday as a library sought to lift a gag order on an FBI inquiry into its files. The case stems from an FBI request for records of a library patron without identifying the threat posed by the person, said a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the unidentified library in U.S. District Court.
August 5, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
Five city subway riders and a civil liberties group sued New York City to stop random police inspections of bags in subways, calling the searches ineffective, unconstitutional and a publicity stunt that does not enhance safety. "It's a needle-in-the-haystack approach to law enforcement," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
July 23, 2005 | From Bloomberg News
U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. gave a new indication of his views on police powers Friday, saying that officers were justified when they searched the trunk of a car they suspected was stolen. In a dissenting opinion that showed deference to police officers' needs, Roberts voted to uphold the conviction of Terry M. Jackson for an illegal gun and ammunition found in the trunk of the car he was driving.
July 9, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
More than 35,000 pot plants have been seized on federal land north of Redding, authorities said. The marijuana grove, in a remote and rugged area, was spotted last week during a reconnaissance flight, Shasta County Sheriff's Lt. Tim McDonald said. The seizure was nearly equal to half the number of plants confiscated during the eradication season last year, when authorities seized 73,655 marijuana plants. No one has been arrested.
April 20, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has backed off from a policy that would have allowed church officials to search the homes or computers of priests accused of sexual misconduct. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan said he would not put the policy into effect without "vigorous consultation" with priests. The archdiocese's advisory priest council will review the policy April 28 before Dolan makes a final decision. Dolan had approved the policy in December, and priests were told about it last month.
April 17, 2005 | H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer
Last September, when authorities rounded up the family who ran Southern California's largest bail bonds firm, the story that emerged bordered on the sensational. The Palestinian clan that ran American Liberty Bail Bonds, police said at the time, diverted tens of millions of dollars to the Middle East, money they made through drug sales and hustling cons and jail inmates through intimidation and kidnapping.
April 7, 2005 | Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell, Times Staff Writers
The district attorney's office served search warrants Wednesday at Vernon City Hall as part of an investigation of alleged misuse of public funds in the tiny industrial town on the southeast border of Los Angeles, authorities said. For the last several months, investigators from the district attorney's public integrity division have been conducting a preliminary probe of the city, which was sparked by a complaint, said Head Deputy Dist. Atty. David Demerjian.
April 6, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The civil rights of Hells Angels members were violated when authorities searched their homes and seized their property, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week. The Hells Angels contended that during a 1997 murder investigation, police seized motorcycles and killed three dogs.
January 25, 2005 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
Using a police dog to sniff a car's exterior for drugs does not violate the privacy rights of a stopped motorist, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, even if the officers had no reason to suspect the car or its occupants were carrying drugs. When added to prior rulings, the high court's 6-2 decision appears to give police broad, but not unlimited, authority to use canines to sniff for drugs -- or bombs -- whether on roads or in schools, airports and office buildings.
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