Today comes a reversal of a sad trend I’ve been following, here, since at least June of 2016. I’ve rarely been happier about being wrong – I had predicted an affirmance.
Yet, I was right about the overall trend against freedom:
The worn-out line of the sheep goes: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Two problems there: 1) you don’t know what they consider “wrong”, and; 2) how about when the government is wrong? What then? Move to a freer country? There are at least ten out there – one right next door to the U.S. Sit in your house and do absolutely nothing? That can be considered an indication of criminal intent or an invitation for a “welfare check-in” by the police.
The odds are you do not have anything to worry about. Obey the government in general, don’t make any waves, and they will probably leave you alone. Probably was not what the Founders had in mind with the Bill of Rights though. They desired protection from ALL government overreach.
Today, the Supreme Court put this issue to rest in a 5-4 decision upholding the right against unreasonable searches. Thank you, Justice Roberts and the Liberals.
2. The Government did not obtain a warrant supported by probable
cause before acquiring Carpenter’s cell-site records. It acquired
those records pursuant to a court order under the Stored Communications
Act, which required the Government to show “reasonable
grounds” for believing that the records were “relevant and material to
an ongoing investigation.” 18 U. S. C. §2703(d). That showing falls
well short of the probable cause required for a warrant. Consequently,
an order issued under §2703(d) is not a permissible mechanism for
accessing historical cell-site records. Not all orders compelling the
production of documents will require a showing of probable cause. A warrant is required only in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate
privacy interest in records held by a third party. And even
though the Government will generally need a warrant to access
CSLI, case-specific exceptions—e.g., exigent circumstances—may
support a warrantless search. Pp. 18–22.
819 F. 3d 880, reversed and remanded.
Carpenter v. The Empire, No. 16–402, 585 U. S. ____, at Slip. 3-4 (June 22, 2018).
Good news to start the hot weekend.
More good news: TPC is now available in print!