Washington, DC (June 8, 2016) -- The Fourth Amendment has entered the digital age. New surveillance technologies and programs — from GPS tracking devices to automated license plate readers to bulk data collection — have upended traditional law enforcement practices and created new challenges for defense lawyers.
To address the new threats to privacy posed by the digital age, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the Foundation for Criminal Justice, the American University Washington College of Law, and the Criminal Law Practitioner presented a symposium entitled "The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age." Criminal law practitioners, scholars, and technology experts discussed how digital searches, government surveillance programs, and new technologies are impacting Fourth Amendment protections in criminal cases as well as litigation strategies to challenge these developing threats to privacy. This report, prepared by University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Professor Andrew G. Ferguson, offers an overview of the symposium and the substantive areas of concern related to new technological and legal changes that impact privacy in the digital age. In addition, the report offers detailed recommendations concerning legal strategy, public education, legislative advocacy, and policy in this area.
"As the technology available to governments evolves, so too must we understand its potential to invade privacy in ways never imagined by the drafters of the Fourth Amendment, but most certainly contrary to the limitations on government power that they envisioned," said NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "The defense bar must be equipped to challenge the use of these practices through sophisticated litigation strategies. This symposium, and the publicly-available report it generated that we are releasing today, are important steps in furtherance of these objectives."
The symposium examined how the United States government is collecting, searching, storing, and sharing information on suspects and non-suspects alike, including how new surveillance techniques developed for counterterrorism are being used in non-terrorism-related investigations. The symposium also explored how recent changes in Fourth Amendment doctrine and police practices have created opportunities and challenges for defense lawyers. Indeed, one recent case revealed that judges had been regularly signing orders without an understanding of the technology behind the surveillance being authorized. The final panel looked to the future, asking how the courts, Congress, and companies might adapt to the rise of the surveillance state. There was also an in-depth conversation with former Chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications International Joseph P. Nacchio, hosted by NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. The discussion focused on the story of what happened to Nacchio and Qwest after refusing to cooperate without specific legal authority when the government sought to use Qwest communication cables to conduct surveillance.
The symposium report, The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age, is available for download at www.nacdl.org/FourthAmendmentInTheDigitalAge. Research and publication of this report was made possible through the support of individual donors and foundations to the Foundation for Criminal Justice, NACDL's supporting organization.
Video of the symposium is available at C-SPAN.org via the links below:
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.