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By Leonard Pitts Jr | October 30, 2011
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated... " - Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Just in case you forgot. There has been, after all, an appalling amount of forgetting where that amendment is concerned. And New York City has become the epicenter of the amnesia. Yes, the "stop and frisk" policy of questioning and searching people a cop finds suspicious is used elsewhere as well.
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By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | October 7, 2014
Montgomery County officials said Tuesday they will no longer honor federal requests to hold illegal immigrants beyond their scheduled release date unless U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can demonstrate the person is likely to have committed a crime. The decision means three of Maryland's four largest jurisdictions -- Montgomery and Prince George's counties along with Baltimore city -- have changed long-standing policies this year that treated the federal immigration detainers the same as criminal warrants.
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NEWS
December 10, 1991
The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. The storms may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter. All his forces dare not cross the threshold. -- William Pitt in the House of Commons, 1760.Noble words, but in America at that time, the above sentiment was often honored in the breach. It was, in fact, the English practice of ignoring the sanctity of colonists' living quarters that helped bring on the Revolution. Citizens were compelled to provide English troops free room and board in their cottages on occasion.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | January 16, 2014
Perhaps you've heard of the Fourth Amendment. That's the one that guarantees freedom from unfettered government snooping, the one that says government needs probable cause and a warrant before it can search or seize your things. That guarantee would seem to be ironclad, but we've been learning lately that it's not. Indeed, maybe we've reached the point where the Fourth ought to be marked with an asterisk and followed by disclaimers in the manner of the announcer who spends 30 seconds extolling the miracle drug and the next 30 speed-reading its dire side effects: To wit: "Fourth Amendment not available to black and Hispanic men walking in New York, who may be stopped and frisked for no discernible reason.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | January 16, 2014
Perhaps you've heard of the Fourth Amendment. That's the one that guarantees freedom from unfettered government snooping, the one that says government needs probable cause and a warrant before it can search or seize your things. That guarantee would seem to be ironclad, but we've been learning lately that it's not. Indeed, maybe we've reached the point where the Fourth ought to be marked with an asterisk and followed by disclaimers in the manner of the announcer who spends 30 seconds extolling the miracle drug and the next 30 speed-reading its dire side effects: To wit: "Fourth Amendment not available to black and Hispanic men walking in New York, who may be stopped and frisked for no discernible reason.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Luke Broadwater | May 24, 2011
In a move that should be getting more notice this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has thrown down the gauntlet over the renewal of the Patriot Act, provisions of which would expire Friday if not extended.  Paul has offered several "controversial" amendments to the bill, and could single-handedly cause the Patriot Act to lapse for a day, The Hill reported today .  What are these so-called "controversial" changes to the post-9/11 act...
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | October 7, 2014
Montgomery County officials said Tuesday they will no longer honor federal requests to hold illegal immigrants beyond their scheduled release date unless U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can demonstrate the person is likely to have committed a crime. The decision means three of Maryland's four largest jurisdictions -- Montgomery and Prince George's counties along with Baltimore city -- have changed long-standing policies this year that treated the federal immigration detainers the same as criminal warrants.
NEWS
By Alexander E. Hooke | August 28, 2013
"Can we say then … that the general economy of power in our societies is becoming a domain of security?" Michel Foucault, 1978 In 1791, the Fourth Amendment - sanctifying what we now call the human right to privacy - became part of the Bill of Rights. Barely had the ink of the signatures dried when it was already threatened by government. Congress immediately planned to take a census of the newly established country's population, only to be met by numerous citizens resisting officials poking their heads onto their property and asking about their children, size of home, how many males and females were over the age of 16. More than two centuries later, the right to privacy continues to be threatened and violated.
NEWS
June 7, 2013
The Sun's reasoning regarding the recent ruling on DNA collection is severely flawed ("Court is right on DNA," June 4). DNA is not 21 s t -century fingerprinting, and it does more than identify a person. It's likely there is yet undetermined information stored in the "non-coding" section of DNA. It is irrelevant whether the information gathered is used or not. The very fact that the state has taken the information from an individual violates the Fourth Amendment. It can be likened to taking someone's computer.
NEWS
By Martin A. Schwartz | April 19, 2000
SINCE THE END of the Earl Warren Supreme Court in 1969, the court has continuously and substantially watered down Fourth Amendment protections against police action. It has done so principally by sanctioning an ever-increasing array of warrantless searches and by creating exception after exception to the rule requiring that evidence obtained as a result of an unconstitutional search be excluded at trial. The Supreme Court decisional law is riddled with so many exceptions to the warrant requirement that we have reached the point where warrantless searches are the norm.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | January 9, 2014
Here is what he said: "...all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. " It would seem to be a self-evident truth. After all, your First Amendment right to freedom of speech is regulated. If you don't believe it, write something libelous about a guy with deep pockets and man-eating lawyers. Your Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is regulated and then some. If you don't believe that, pick up your phone and ask the NSA agent tapping your line.
NEWS
By Alexander E. Hooke | August 28, 2013
"Can we say then … that the general economy of power in our societies is becoming a domain of security?" Michel Foucault, 1978 In 1791, the Fourth Amendment - sanctifying what we now call the human right to privacy - became part of the Bill of Rights. Barely had the ink of the signatures dried when it was already threatened by government. Congress immediately planned to take a census of the newly established country's population, only to be met by numerous citizens resisting officials poking their heads onto their property and asking about their children, size of home, how many males and females were over the age of 16. More than two centuries later, the right to privacy continues to be threatened and violated.
NEWS
June 13, 2013
Reader David Liddle writes that "since I have nothing to hide and would like to protect myself and my family from terrorists, I have no problem with the government looking at my emails and listening to my phone calls" ("'Don't worry: The NSA isn't interested in you," June 12). I would ask if he sees any value in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing privacy from government intrusion? Would he prefer to live under a totalitarian government that spies on all its citizens in order to silence dissent?
NEWS
June 10, 2013
I was somewhat disturbed by reports the National Security Agency has been monitoring all phone calls on the Verizon system for years ("Surveillance state," June 7). But like most Americans I accepted it as my government protecting the country against terrorists. Today, however, I made a point of reading the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution rather than just believing I knew what it meant - and realized how wrong I was. I recommend that citizens of this country obtain and review a copy of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, before formulating an opinion on major issues such as this.
NEWS
June 7, 2013
The Sun's reasoning regarding the recent ruling on DNA collection is severely flawed ("Court is right on DNA," June 4). DNA is not 21 s t -century fingerprinting, and it does more than identify a person. It's likely there is yet undetermined information stored in the "non-coding" section of DNA. It is irrelevant whether the information gathered is used or not. The very fact that the state has taken the information from an individual violates the Fourth Amendment. It can be likened to taking someone's computer.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | June 3, 2013
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police in Maryland and elsewhere can continue the warrantless collection of DNA from people arrested - but not convicted - of serious crimes. The 5-4 decision upheld a state law that allows investigators to take genetic information from arrestees, a practice followed by the federal government and about half the states. Police generally compare suspects' DNA to records from other cases in hopes of developing leads. The case, which amplified a long-running debate over the limits of government search-and-seizure powers, began with a challenge from a Wicomico County man linked to a rape after his DNA was taken in an unrelated arrest.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | June 3, 2013
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police in Maryland and elsewhere can continue the warrantless collection of DNA from people arrested - but not convicted - of serious crimes. The 5-4 decision upheld a state law that allows investigators to take genetic information from arrestees, a practice followed by the federal government and about half the states. Police generally compare suspects' DNA to records from other cases in hopes of developing leads. The case, which amplified a long-running debate over the limits of government search-and-seizure powers, began with a challenge from a Wicomico County man linked to a rape after his DNA was taken in an unrelated arrest.
NEWS
July 8, 1994
The legal dueling at the O.J. Simpson hearing this week has focused on whether certain evidence against him could be suppressed under the "exclusionary rule." That rule says evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment ("search and seizure") can be excluded from a trial. Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell's ruling yesterday that the evidence can be used could determine whether Mr. Simpson goes to trial. A similar ruling at a trial would almost surely be the subject of appeals.This is fueling public debate about the wisdom of the exclusionary rule.
NEWS
May 6, 2012
I found Dan Rodricks ' commentary regarding DNA testing and the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling ("DNA: Why wait for an arrest?" May 3) to be quite interesting. He states at the end that he can't think of a good argument against his position that we should all give DNA samples to the authorities whether we have been accused of a crime or not. Well, Dan, I've also thought about how useful having a large repository of DNA can be. Unsolved crime and a city mayor on your back?
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2012
Police around Maryland said Wednesday that they would continue to collect DNA samples when suspects are arrested for violent crimes and burglaries, despite a recent ruling by the state's top court limiting the practice. Several law enforcement agencies, including the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, were awaiting a decision on whether the state will appeal before they make changes. Gov. Martin O'Malley, Baltimore's mayor and a chorus of state and local officials called for an appeal of what they see as a crucial tool that has linked suspects to other, unsolved crimes.
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