Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter had obtained a search warrant under Louisiana’s moribund-under-the-circumstances criminal libel law to search the home and computer of a man he suspected of being an anonymous critical blogger, but an appeals court wasn’t having it. Bonus: Larpenter lets loose with rant against Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino, whose work on issues of legal ethics we have had occasion to salute in the past, and who had questioned the legal adequacy of the warrant. [WWL, earlier]
“One week after Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter seized the computers and phones of a suspected online critic, angry residents came to the parish council to defend free speech rights and to question Parish President Gordon Dove for hiring an insurance agent who is at the heart of the controversy.” [David Hammer, WWL] Louisiana has a criminal libel law on the books and although its continued constitutionality is doubtful given a state supreme court ruling, it served as the basis for a judge to approve a search warrant for the raid on the home and electronic equipment of Houma police officer Wayne Anderson, suspected of being the pseudonymous author of the gadfly Esposedat blog, which has criticized Larpenter and other officials. “When Larpenter was asked whether there is a conflict in him investigating an alleged crime involving himself, he replied, ‘If you’re gonna lie about me and make it under a fictitious name, I’m gonna come after you.'” [WWL, first, second, third, fourth posts]
NYPD threatens immigrant-owned shops with closure using what are sometimes questionable nuisance abatement claims, then uses its leverage to push for warrantless access to information on customers. “Most cases resulted in settlements, 333 of which allow the NYPD to conduct warrantless searches. In 102 cases, the owner agreed to install cameras that the NYPD can access upon request. Another 127 settlements require storeowners to use electronic card readers that store customers’ ID information, also available to the NYPD upon request.” [ProPublica, Radley Balko, TechDirt]
- Cross-examination of Mr. Hot Yoga left jury steamed, especially when it came to explaining the luxury cars [Lowering the Bar; more on Bikram Choudhury litigation]
- Forty-nine (!) Georgia corrections officers accused of taking bribes, drug trafficking [WXIA Atlanta; compare Baltimore jail guards scandal]
- More reactions to Justice Scalia’s death: Lee Liberman Otis, Joseph Bottum, Emily Zanotti, David Wagner/Ninomania. His legacy on the Fourth Amendment [Jonathan Blanks, Cato] On canines in the curtilage and the Bill of Rights more generally [Jacob Sullum] Labor and employment law bloggers on his passing [Jon Hyman] Immune to internationalist argle-bargle, Scalia was actually one of SCOTUS’s more cosmopolitan members [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris]
- Los Angeles joins San Francisco and Boston in banning chewing tobacco in Dodger Stadium and every other park and stadium in the city, because it can [Curbed LA]
- “They are both highly educated attorneys” which means they should have known better than to launch that lurid plot to plant drugs on the rival PTA mom [Washington Post]
- To get a cosmetology license in Ohio, you’ll need to undergo training in spotting signs of human trafficking [Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason; earlier on hair and beauty professionals as informants]
- “British teenager creates robot lawyer to help people with their legal queries” [Mashable]
- Under HUD deal, “Dubuque must now actively recruit Section 8 voucher holders from the Chicago area,” 200 miles away [Stanley Kurtz/National Review, Deborah Thornton/Public Interest Institute, July]
- Mandatory rental inspections: Can City Hall demand entrance to a home with no evidence of violations? [Scott Shackford] Nuisance abatement laws: “NYPD Throws People Out of Their Homes Without Ever Proving Criminal Activity” [same]
- Data point on scope of regulation: online marketing of sink faucets “seems targeted at assuring potential purchasers of regulatory and legal compliance,” both ADA and environmental [Ira Stoll]
- Public interest litigators’ “right to shelter” created today’s hellish NYC homeless program [NYT on murder at Harlem shelter, background at Point of Law]
- Flood insurance: “$7.8 Million Fee For Lawyers, 7-Cent Check For One Lucky Class Member” [Daniel Fisher]
- On eminent domain, some lefty lawprofs suddenly turn all skeptical on whether courts can fix injustice [Ilya Somin] Prof. Purdy defends the Kelo v. New London decision, but Prof. Kanner would like to correct a few of his facts;
- “The San Francisco artist who is being kicked out of his apartment after 34 years is a perfect example of why rent control is awful” [Jim Edwards, Business Insider] “Big-City Mayors Think They Can Mandate Their Way to Affordable Housing” [Matt Welch, Reason]
December 15 marked Bill of Rights Day, and Tim Lynch rounds up ways in which most of the constituent amendments in the Bill of Rights are under pressure from government today. And in a Cato Daily Podcast, Caleb Brown interviews Georgetown Law’s Laura Donohue of Georgetown Law School on the history of general warrants, important in the development of the Fourth Amendment, which many assumed we abolished but may be making a comeback.
No warrant needed: “administrative subpoenas” or “civil enforcement demands” allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies to demand “everything from Social Security numbers to medical records without a judge’s prior approval, so long as the information is “relevant” to the agency’s work.” Courts have allowed the maneuver although it bypasses the protections of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. [Kathryn Watson, Daily Caller]
On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations — The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society.
The writers include many familiar names and every contribution I’ve read so far, on both sides of questions, has been of high quality.
“Stop and frisk” in New York City has a Right valence; “getting guns off the streets,” a Left. But what if in practice they mostly amounted to the same thing?