Notes from the Sharp End

I don’t know enough immigration/4th Amendment law to know if customs agents demanding to read the contents of your laptop when you come into the country, as described in this account of a search experience on “border”, is constitutional — but it should not be.

I do, however, think I know enough about the law regarding privacy in public places to say that if this story is accurate (and I know nothing about the original source) then this student busted for photographing an arrest was either wrongly arrested or the underlying law/ordinance (if it exists) is unconstitutional.

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4 Responses to Notes from the Sharp End

  1. Mojo says:

    You’re clearly behind the times when it comes to privacy law. As most Supreme Court judges could tell you, activities inside your home which police could potentially see if they went onto your property and peeked through the windows are public while the police today are so “professional” that only somebody intent on causing trouble would ever seek to document their activities.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Would this be “Notes From the Sharp End” of the public SPEAR? :>)

    (comment from the hinges of the public beer…)

  3. Arthur Dent says:

    The search described in the first paragraph is supported by U.S. v. Ickes, among other cases.

  4. Michael says:

    But has the 4th Circuit ever met a search it didn’t like?

    Personally, I find its discussion of the 1st amendment challenge somewhat cursory and unconvincing, although I wouldn’t be prepared to say that this Supreme Court would hold differently.

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