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    • Brief

    Caniglia v. Strom

    Brief Amicus Curiae of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Criminal Procedure Professors in Support of Petitioner.


    Argument: In Sutterfield v. City of Milwaukee, 751 F.3d 542, 553 (7th Cir. 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit observed that the distinctions among the exigent circumstances doctrine, the emergency aid doctrine, and the community caretaking doctrine “are not always clear.” In turn, these fuzzy distinctions have led to a “lack of clarity in judicial articulation and application of the three doctrines.” This lack of clarity means that courts deciding whether the community caretaking doctrine should apply to warrantless home entries often think that doctrine is needed to justify entries that are already covered by the exigent circumstances doctrine and/or the emergency aid doctrine. As set forth in this amici brief, this Court’s opinions defining and applying the exigent circumstances and emergency aid doctrines establish that police officers would need to rely on the community caretaking doctrine as an independent justification for warrantless home entries in only two potential situations: to address (1) non-bodily harms such as nuisances; and (2) non-imminent threats of bodily harm. Framed in that fashion, it is clear that a separate and independent rationale such as “community caretaking” – which was generated by the special circumstances attendant to automobile searches – does not justify invasion of the sanctity of the home. Indeed, the way that this Court distinguished its opinion in Coolidge in creating the community caretaking doctrine makes clear that the doctrine does not and should not apply to warrantless home entries. In addition, the capacity for a “community caretaking” exception that permits warrantless searches of the home would invite its use as an end run around the protections of the warrant requirement.

    • Brief

    Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v. Baltimore Police Department

    Brief Of Amici Curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, Brennan Center For Justice, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Freedomworks Foundation, National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, And Rutherford Institute In Support Of Plaintiffs-Appellants’ Petition For Rehearing En Banc.


    Argument: Rehearing en banc is necessary because the panel’s opinion contradicts two controlling Fourth Amendment principles. First, surveillance technologies that collect detailed records about people’s movements, like Baltimore’s Aerial Investigative Research (AIR) program, infringe on individuals’ reasonable expectations of privacy. Second, the “special needs” exception to the warrant requirement does not apply where, as here, a police surveillance program serves only as a law enforcement investigatory tool. Rehearing is also warranted by the important technological and social aspects of this case. Baltimore’s AIR program comprehensively tracks the movements of a half-million people as they travel throughout the city, and it is integrated into the city’s vast surveillance camera and automated license plate reader (ALPR) networks. Other vendors are following AIR’s maker, Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS), into this new market for advanced police aerial surveillance technologies.  These police “eyes in the sky” chill free speech and assembly in public places, raising serious First Amendment concerns. This case also exemplifies the disparate burden of government surveillance borne by communities of color—a problem described as “the color of surveillance.” Police experiment with, and eventually deploy, intrusive technologies like the AIR program in cities with large communities of color. Before Baltimore, PSS operated surveillance flights above Compton, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dayton, Ohio. The company also seeks to conduct surveillance of St. Louis, Missouri. Further, authorities have routinely deployed aerial surveillance technologies against individuals participating in racial justice movements, like those protesting against the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore. The combination of these racial disparities and the novel surveillance technique at issue here thus justifies rehearing this case en banc. And the legal errors in the panel’s opinion require it.

    • Landing Page

    Domestic Drone Information Center

    NACDL's Domestic Drone Information Center aims to be a one-stop source of cutting-edge information on the proliferation of drones inside the United States. It collects news from leading publications across the nation; features a comprehensive listing of legislative developments; and contains sections devoted to relevant case law, government documents, scholarship, upcoming events, and data on drone usage. The Domestic Drone Information Center also aggregates existing material from other websites, making it a launching pad to additional information about domestic drones on the web.