DOJ Complains That A Warrant To Search A Mobile Phone Makes It More Difficult To Catch Criminals

holder-cell

For TechdirtTim Cushing writes: The US government has entered its reply brief in the US vs. Wurie case and its argument in favor of warrantless searches of arrestees’ cell phones contains some truly terrible suppositions. Here’s a brief recap of the situation in this case:

In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from “My House.” They opened the phone to determine the number for “My House.” That led them to the man’s home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns. 

The defendant was convicted, but on appeal he argued that accessing the information on his cellphone without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the man’s argument, ruling that the police should have gotten a warrant before accessing any information on the man’s phone.

As was noted by Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, a lot has changed since 2007. The phone the police searched seven years ago was a grey flip phone with limited capabilities. Unfortunately, the Court is using this case to set precedent for a nation full of smartphones, which contain considerably more data and are roughly the equivalent of a person’s home computer, rather than the address book the government refers to in its arguments.  Read the rest of this entry »


Concealed-Weapons Laws Have Changed America Regardless of National Debate on Gun Control

TRPC_Subpages_038

For Washington Examiner, the Michael Barone writes:  Over the last 25 years, we have had related national debates over proposed federal gun-control laws designed to restrict access to certain firearms. But Concealed-Carry-Women2only one piece of major legislation has passed Congress, in the 1994 crime bill, and the electoral backlash against many of its supporters in the 1994 midterm elections convinced many Democrats inclined to support such restrictions to try to sidestep the issue.

But Congress and the laws it passes are not the only determinants of facts on the ground. Starting with a Florida law in 1987, most states have passed concealed weapons laws, allowing law-abiding citizens who have had relevant training to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons. Such laws have been supplemented by court decisions covering a few states since the U.S. Supreme Court decision inHeller v. District of Columbia in 2008, which recognized that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The result has been that over the years the entire nation has become carry-concealed-weapons territory, as shown in a neat graphic in a Volokh Conspiracy blog post by Dave Kopel.

The chart below shows how Shall Issue laws for the licensed carrying of firearms for self-defense have become the American norm.

 

image001-carry

By 2014, the percentage of people living in the Red states, with no possibility of even applying for a permit, has declined to zero. Illinois’ 2013 reforms ended the problem of states not even having a process theoretically available. (The problem persists in DC, but this chart is only for states.)

As of January 2014, about 2/3 of the population lived in a Green state, with a Shall Issue licensing statute.

Read the rest of this entry »


WASHINGTON POST SHAKEUP: Ezra Klein Out, Eugene Volokh, In: Bezos Era Begins

volokh_eugene-xTo grasp the magnitude of this realignment, imagine if the New York Times declined to renew veteran left-wing crackpot Paul Krugman‘s contract, and replaced him with Instapudit‘s Glenn Reynolds. Or if HBO fired Bill Maher, and offered a prime-time talk show to Greg Gutfeld. Yes, it’s like that.

Could this be a sign of intelligent life in media? What if Maureen Dowd was booted out of her nest at the NYT, replaced by Mona Charen? Imagine if ABC’s Good Morning America dumped its on-air talent and hired Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, and Michelle Malkin. Or if editorial control of  The Huffington Post was turned over to me, Nick Gillespie, and Jonah Goldberg

Okay that part is wishful thinking. But you get the idea. It’s a big deal.

John Nolte at Breitbart.com has the scoop.

John Nolte reports:  Very interesting day at The Washington Post. Left-wing Ezra Klein is out and the much-respected conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracyis in. Already the Jeff Bezos era is becoming an interesting one. Numerous reports claim that Bezos wasn’t interested in a multi-million dollar proposal Klein pitched, but he was apparently interested in giving Volokh full editorial control:

We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the volokh.com domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that…

Ezra-Klein-xx

After all, they approached us because of who we are and what we write. They know our ideologies. They know our blogging style. They know that we sometimes put up quirky non-law posts. They tell us they’re fine with all of that.

Both moves are a huge boost for the Post for a few reasons.

As much as Ezra Klein was worshipped by others in the elite media, he badly damaged the Post’s credibility as an objective news outlet. It was unconscionable of the Post to frame Klein’s hysterical leftism and Obama water-carrying as objective analysis and reporting. Klein is a wild-eyed Statist, and a wildly dishonest one to boot.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Other Kennedy Assassination: Media Narrative Avoids Palestinian Terrorist Motive in RFK Murder

Oswald and Sirhan were troubled men of radical politics who wanted to murder their ideological enemies, Oswald on behalf of Castro and Sirhan on behalf of the Palestinian cause

article-1111444-001FD89500000258-358_468x545Over at The Volokh Conspiracy writes: While fifty years later, much of the MSM still refuses to acknowledge that JFK’s assassin was a Communist loser, somehow it’s also apparently not cricket to point out that his brother RFK was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.

So let’s review. Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian refugee with Jordanian citizenship. He murdered Kennedy because the latter promised to send advanced fighter planes to Israel. The PLO terrorist group Black September demanded his release in exchange for hostages in 1973, recognizing that he was “one of theirs.”

Yet of 5755 hits for “Sirhan Sirhan” in the ALLNEWS database on Westlaw, only four of them refer to him as a “Palestinian terrorist” or “Palestinian extremist;” three of these sources are the Jerusalem Post, and one is the New York Jewish Week. In mainstream publications, you actually get phrases like this, “Black September terrorists who kidnapped the Western diplomats in a failed plot to free Palestinian terrorists in European jails and Sirhan Sirhan, the killer of Robert F. Kennedy,” as if Sirhan Sirhan, a terrorist and a Palestinian, on the same “trade of for hostages list” as other Palestinian terrorists, was somehow not a “Palestinian terrorist.” An even better one, from the Huffington Post: “[RFK] was gunned down in a hotel kitchen by a 24-year-old Palestinian whose motives have never been determined.” (Ironically, sources from the Arab world (e.g.,) seem more likely to acknowledge the real dynamic, though with the message that the U.S. and assumedly RFK got what was coming to it and him for supporting Israel).

Read the rest of this entry »


State Takes Baby for First 75 Days of the Baby’s Life, Because of Mother’s Use of Poppy Seed Dressing

poppyseeddressEugene Volokh writes: A federal district court has found that this happened, and that this violated the Constitution. From Bower v. Lawrence County Children and Youth Services (W.D. Pa. Aug. 12, 2013) (some paragraph breaks added):

In July 2009, Bower was a twenty years old resident of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. On July 12, 2009 at approximately 7:00 p.m., Bower hosted a barbecue dinner at her new home. As part of the meal, Bower consumed linguini salad with McCormick Foods Supreme Pasta salad dressing which contained poppy seeds. Bower used two bottles of the salad dressing with one pound of pasta. Bower Deposition at 127. Shortly after dinner, Bower went into labor. During her pregnancy, Bower had received necessary and appropriate prenatal care and had passed every drug screen that had been administered, including a drug test taken approximately three weeks earlier, on June 22, 2009. At 9:20 p.m., Bower was admitted to Jameson for the birth of her second child. Read the rest of this entry »