Technology and its impact on the Fourth Amendment

By Timothy P. O'Neill Let's set the Wayback Machine to 1983. You are in a law school classroom and are discussing a brand new U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983). The professor says, "This case holds that police use of a beeper to track a suspect's car to a drug lab is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. In order for police activity to constitute a search, it must intrude on the person's reasonable expectation of privacy. Here the car was always on public streets; theoretically, any person could have viewed the suspect's movements. Use of the beeper only aided … [Read more...]

Court takes on Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule

September 9, 2011 By  Timothy P. O'Neill Timothy P. O'Neill is a professor at The John Marshall Law School. He was a finalist for the 2010 "Peter Lisagor Award" for Exemplary Journalism in the area of Commentary. Let's talk about "The Biggest Loser." No, not the TV show. I want to talk about what Linda Greenhouse referred to as "The Biggest Loser" of the 2010 term of the U.S. Supreme Court: the Fourth Amendment. From a defense perspective, the result was scorched earth. For openers, the government won all three Fourth Amendment cases. Justice Samuel Alito wrote two of the majority … [Read more...]

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