Patriot Act E-Mail Searches Apply to Non-Terrorists, Judges Say

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by poncho, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. poncho

    poncho
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    By JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    February 28, 2006


    Two federal judges in Florida have upheld the authority of individual courts to use the Patriot Act to order searches anywhere in the country for e-mails and computer data in all types of criminal investigations, overruling a magistrate who found that Congress limited such expanded jurisdiction to cases involving terrorism.

    The disagreement among the jurists about the scope of their powers simmered for more than two years before coming to light in an opinion unsealed earlier this month. The resolution, which underscored the government's broad legal authority to intercept electronic communications, comes as debate is raging over President Bush's warrantless surveillance program and the duties of Internet providers to protect personal data.

    A magistrate judge in Orlando, James Glazebrook, first questioned the so-called nationwide-search provision in 2003, after investigators in a child pornography probe asked him to issue a search warrant requiring a "legitimate" California-based Web site to identify all users who accessed certain "password-protected" photos posted on the site. The Web provider was not named in public court records.

    Magistrate Glazebrook said that in passing the Patriot Act, formally known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, Congress made clear its focus was on terrorism. He said there was nothing in the language Congress adopted in the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that suggested the nationwide-search provision should apply to garden variety federal cases.

    "The statutory language is clear and unambiguous in limiting district court authority to issue out-of-district warrants to investigations of terrorism, and that language controls this court's interpretation. The government has shown no legislative intent to the contrary," the magistrate wrote. He also noted that many of the examples given during legislative debate involved terrorism. The then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, described the nationwide-search language as applying in terrorism cases, the court noted.

    SOURCE
     
  2. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles
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    Someone please pass Lady Liberty a box of Kleenex please. She will need them.
     
  3. elijah_lives

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    What is the controlling language of the statute, poncho? I haven't read it, but I would hope that it specifically confines the expanded authority of the government to national security threats. I think much of these same tools have been used in the "War on Drugs" for years, though.
     
  4. poncho

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    I don't either now that the Patriot Act has been expanded once again EL. It pretty much does away with the fourth amendment though.

    Back awhile ago, can't remember who it was posted what Ben Franklin said...
    To which someone else replied.

    No offense to whoever posted it but considering those liberties that our founders figured to be essential were all put in the bill of rights I thought it was a dumb question.

    Why would a statue of the pagan godess Diana in New York harbor be weeping for the loss of our liberty MP I don't quite understand.
     
  5. billwald

    billwald
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    The argumemt against the Bill of Rights was that the judiciary would conclude that they were our only possible "rights." <G>
     
  6. poncho

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    That's true. I'm glad they squeezed in as many as they could into the bill of rights. It stands now to shed light on the tyranny of government. To bad so many people have failed to turn their lights on.
     

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