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The Champion

January/February 2011 , Page 5 

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From the President: Is Mail Still Mail? And Will the Fourth Amendment Survive the 21st Century?

By Jim E. Lavine

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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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