Gone: 4th Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Searches
Family Protection Plan: A Personal Fourth Amendment
by Bill Rounds
Ever wonder how a fish in a bowl feels? Some people are nice and give them a few plants, or even a castle where they can escape the constant prying eyes of ogling idiots. Take away that castle, and they are completely exposed. The Fourth Amendment used to be a family protection plan for our own castle. Now the Fourth Amendment is weaker than ever and that family protection plan must be created on our own. We are starting to know how the little fishies feel.
Recently the 9th Circuit denied rehearing a case which permitted police to search a home without any suspicion whatsoever. The Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, penned an artful dissent, pointing out the damage done by allowing such a decision in the lower court to stand. Although case law of all other Circuits is contrary to the ruling in the case, Judge Kozinski points out that the case law in the 9th Circuit should have led to a similar ruling.
So what does this mean for us? First, the law/government/constitution will not always protect you, protect family or friends from intrusion. It is up to individuals to take measures to have a family protection plan. Fortunately, tools for a family protection plan still exist. Things like anonymous web surfing, encrypted email, cell phone security, and protecting your Facebook profile, when used together, can carve out a private area inside the fishbowl where you and your family can avoid the watchful eyes of the idiots.
Text Of The Dissent
Here is a significant portion of the text of Judge Kosinski’s Dissent. We will see how much influence the Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit can have on privacy protection.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. JUAN HERMAN LEMUS
Dissent by Chief Judge Kozinski
…The call for this case to be reheard enbanc is DENIED.
Chief Judge KOZINSKI, with whom Judge PAEZ joins, dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc:
This is an extraordinary case: Our court approves, without blinking, a police sweep of a person’s home without a warrant, without probable cause, without reasonable suspicion and without exigency – in other words, with nothing at all to support the entry except the curiosity police always have about what they might find if they go rummaging around a suspect’s home. Once inside, the police managed to turn up a gun “in plain view” – stuck between two cushions of the living room couch – and we reward them by upholding the search.