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Is Mail Still Mail? And Will the Fourth Amendment Survive the 21st Century? (From the President)
By Jim E. Lavine
President's Column columns.
As communication technology outpaces the legal analyses of a bygone era,
courts around the country must confront vitally important 21st century
search and seizure issues. Nothing less is at stake than the vitality of
the Fourth Amendment and our right to privacy. Confusion and
inconsistency reign as courts struggle to apply amorphous search and
seizure law to new realities. For example, there is now arguably a
federal circuit split concerning warrantless GPS surveillance. And some
states, like New York, have found warrantless GPS surveillance to
violate their own constitutions. Warrantless cell phone searches
incident to arrest have been found by Ohio’s Supreme Court to be a
violation, while California’s Supreme Court reached the opposite
conclusion. Eventually, the Supreme Court will clarify the law.
At issue is how we live in the age of instant communication, and whether
we can reconcile privacy with progress. Is warrantless tracking and
storing of our e
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