10 January 2012

A bright spot

Maybe a speck. Depending on how it turns out.

But this has been a very interesting Supreme Court session for civil libertarians, among other reasons.

For free speech and TV censorship
Related (though an IP issue), extension of copyright laws into public domain

GPS warrant tracking, the effects of new technology on the 4th amendment

Interpretations of search warrants by field officers conducting the searches, or rather how broad those interpretations should be.

Suing private prison officials for violations of prisoner rights, in federal courts.  (this one was already decided, and held that existing torts should have been sufficient claims in lower courts. Kind of a meh solution as the guy was in on federal charges.)
Related to above, strip searching new inmates

The effects of ineffective legal representation on criminal penalties

There's also a cert out on a drug dogsniffing case and establishments of probable cause searches. (Finally).

Something that should never quite be forgotten is how often some rather scummy people (criminals) can help define and even protect or expand the rights and privileges enjoyed by everyone else. We see it working very often in the other direction as the hasty fallout of a criminal actor is often allowed to press politicians and public figures to advocate for more egregious penalties and invasive methods. Every once in a while, it goes the other way.

Thanks criminals.
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