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Two Sneak Peeks Inside a Grand Jury

It’s not every day that grand jurors write about their experiences, but here are two who did. Both recently served on grand juries in New York, and they offer competing takes on this corner of our justice system. The first juror emerged from the experience with an awareness of the power of prosecutors, who dominate the process. The Read More

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“The Fourth Amendment … Is In Retreat”

That’s how a dissenting opinion ends in a major federal case that was decided on Tuesday. This is how it begins: “A customer buys a cell phone. She turns it on and puts it in her pocket.” And with that, according to the majority’s opinion, the customer has consented to create a record of everywhere she goes, a Read More

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SCOTUS Stands Up for the Sixth Amendment

We’ve asked this question before. What if the government charged you with a crime, and you wanted to defend yourself but couldn’t—not because you didn’t have any money, but because the government had blocked all access to it? Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said the government can freeze your money before trial if there’s probable Read More

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Cyber Search Warrants Are Going to the Dogs

It’s true, and reportedly, even the recent search of Jared Fogle’s home involved a Labrador who found a thumb drive of potential evidence. The dog is one of a handful or two nationwide that’s trained to sniff out electronics and their component parts based on a chemical that’s common to all of them. Law enforcement won’t identify the chemical, but after a few Read More

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These Walls Are Thin

A federal court of appeals recently issued an interesting opinion that touched on law enforcement’s use of new radar technology that can peer through the walls of your home. Reportedly, at least fifty agencies have quietly equipped their agents with such devices, and other, similar devices boast even greater capabilities. Here’s the backstory. The defendant was on the lam. He’d been convicted of Read More

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“The Right of Working Stiffs Not to Endure Forced Colonoscopies”

Wow. This story has made the rounds, but if you hadn’t heard, there was a bit of a ruckus in New Mexico recently when police stopped a 54-year-old guy with a five-year-old conviction for meth possession, thinking he might have drugs again. So they asked him to step out of his car, and as it happened, they didn’t find any drugs Read More

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In Your Face: Law Enforcement Expands Its Use of Mobile Face-Recognition Technology

In another example of how technology is changing not just criminal justice but life as we know it, San Diego County has been quietly rolling out a new facial recognition system that will affect how police conduct simple stops on Americans. The system, which allows officers to use mobile devices to collect face images in the field, already has a database Read More

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Federal Court of Appeals Holds that Police Need a Warrant to GPS-Track Your Car

Warren Buffett said in an interview recently, “If a cop follows you for 500 miles, you’re gonna get a ticket.” Now, that’s a great line. And last week, in a different context, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals sounded a somewhat similar note when it held, quite logically, that if the government wants to attach a Read More

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Your Cell Phone Meets Warrantless Border Searches in the Digital Age

The amount of personal papers and effects that we travel around with used to be cabined by the size of our cars or luggage. No more. Today, our phones, tablets, and laptops are veritable supercomputers capable of storing more information than an entire warehouse of documents. What’s more, they often hold confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information, including the most intimate Read More

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