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Blog

Lawsuit forces a Nevada county to return innocent people's money illegally taken through civil asset forfeiture

In November 2013, Trevor Paine was on his through Humboldt County, Nevada on his way to California when he was stopped by a deputy from local sheriff's department for driving nine miles per hour over the speed limit on I-80. The deputy who stopped him claimed that his police dog had alerted him to something in Paine's vehicle and searched it without his consent.

1 day ago
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Blog

House Hearing on Civil Forfeiture

Imagine this, you are moving from Michigan to California to start a new life and your dad gave you $2,500 to help you start out on your feet. While driving through Nevada you get pulled over by a deputy sheriff and he asks you how much money you have on you. You think to yourself, “that’s a strange question, but I’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide,” so you tell the officer you have $2,500 from your dad. The officer then tells you he suspects your trip from Michigan to California is to acquire drugs with the $2,500 and so he seizes the cash, without arresting you, and tells you to go on your way. Welcome to the story of Matt Lee, welcome to civil asset forfeiture.

02/17/2015
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Blog

Civil Asset Forfeiture: When Due Process and Property Rights Don’t Count

On February 6 the Federalist Society held as Civil Asset Forfeiture Update on Capitol Hill with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Institute for Justice as cosponsors. The event was held to bring more awareness to the issue which has been in the news lately with Eric Holder’s limiting order (which will leave around 86% federal civil seizure unaffected), recent legislative efforts and late night television skits. The event featured a diverse panel consisting of: Darpana Sheth (IJ), Kanya Bennett (ACLU), David Smith (Smith & Zimmerman PLLC) and Bill Piper (Drug Policy Alliance).

02/09/2015
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Press Release

FreedomWorks Activists Send 5K+ Messages to Support New Email Privacy Bill

A bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill to protect email privacy today in the House and Senate. FreedomWorks activists sent over 5,000 messages to Congress prior to the bill’s release, urging their representatives to cosponsor this important piece of legislation.

02/04/2015
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Blog

The Fourth Amendment is NOT a Useless Piece of Paper

This title was adopted from a line by Justice Sotomayor during the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Rodriguez v. United States. Over time there has been an encroachment on our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches, as Justice Sotomayor also said, “. . . we can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement.” It is time for the courts to push back and protect our constitutional rights. Fortunately, two recent cases, one at the Supreme Court and another at the circuit level, have given great opportunities to do just this.

02/02/2015
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Blog

Paris tragedy demands more freedom, not less

It didn't take long for the intelligence community's best friends in Congress to invoke last week's terrorist attack in Paris, in which 17 people were brutally killed at the offices of a satirical magazine, in the contentious and continuing debate over the National Security Agency's unconstitutional domestic spying programs.

01/13/2015
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Blog

Get ready for another showdown on NSA spying

The National Security Agency's vast spying apparatus has been a tremendous hurdle for the United States' still-burgeoning tech industry. Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill are, however, unconcerned with the economic impact of these surveillance programs, making it difficult for meaningful reforms to work their way through Congress.

01/02/2015
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Press Release

Justice Dept. Caught Scooping Up Civilian Data From Fake Cell Phone Towers

Washington, DC- The Justice Department is using fake cellphone towers on planes to collect metadata from thousands of innocent Americans without a warrant. The program is meant to target criminals, but the broad nature of the surveillance means that any phone that happens to automatically lock on to the tower's signal will have its data collected, without any suspicion of criminal activity.

11/14/2014
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Blog

Senate will finally move on NSA reforms, but the discussion over spying is just beginning

The Senate appears to be taking steps to reform the National Security Agency's unconstitutional domestic spying programs. The National Journal reports that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for cloture on the stronger version of the USA FREEDOM Act introduced in July by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

11/13/2014
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Blog

NSA spying isn't the only danger to Americans' civil liberties under the PATRIOT Act

Since June 2013, Americans have been aware the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, through which it collects the telephony metadata of virtually every person with a cell phone in the United States. Intelligence officials claim authority for this privacy violating program through Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and a misinterpretation of a 1979 Supreme Court case, Smith v. Maryland. But what much of the public doesn't know about are violations of privacy occurring under Section 213 of the PATRIOT Act, the so-called "sneak-and-peek" provision.

10/30/2014

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