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NCJ Number: 182007 Find in a Library
Title: High-Tech Surveillance Tools and the Fourth Amendment: Reasonable Expectations of Privacy in the Technological Age
Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:37  Issue:1  Dated:Winter 2000  Pages:127-143
Author(s): Richard S. Julie
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 17
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the scope of the Fourth Amendment "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures," particularly the various methods that have been used to determine at what point the right attaches, or when a search has occurred, with attention to the courts' response to developments in surveillance technology used by law enforcement agencies to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs.
Abstract: Part II of this article discusses the historical development of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence over the past 70 years, introducing the major developments in the field, particularly Olmstead v. United States (1928) and Katz v. United States (1967). It critiques "Katz" and some of the cases following the "Katz" doctrine. Part III discusses a number of technologically advanced surveillance tools, some of which are currently used by law enforcement; it assesses the applicability of the Fourth Amendment to their use. Part IV introduces and discusses one proposed solution to the problem of interpreting the Fourth Amendment in the technological age. The solution proposed in Part V compensates for many of the problems in existing Fourth Amendment jurisprudence by linking the amendment's applicability to Federal, State, and local law. Under the current regime, evidence obtained by police without a warrant in violation of local property law is not necessarily excluded from admission at trial. Under a regime that defines the scope of the Fourth Amendment to be coextensive with the protections afforded by such local property laws, any evidence obtained without a warrant in violation of those laws would be obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution and thus inadmissible. If it is unreasonable as a matter of law for any ordinary citizen to violate a statute of general applicability, the same should be true for those whom society charges to uphold the law. By incorporating into the definition of "reasonable" a recognition of the central role that property law has played in the development of our legal system, the courts can ensure that the Constitution's protections will remain vital in the 21st century, regardless of what surveillance technologies the Nation's law enforcement agencies may develop. 134 footnotes
Main Term(s): Police legal limitations
Index Term(s): Electronic surveillance; Right of privacy; Surveillance equipment; US Supreme Court decisions
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