Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

Our Rights Continue To Disappear: Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree

I both love and hate reading Bruce Schneier. I love it because he's smart, focused on issues of security, and well-informed. I hate it for the same reasons because he often points out just how much our rights continue to disappear in the name of "security." Take for example his recent essay: The Exclusionary Rule and Security.

I haven't been paying as much attention to SCOTUS as I used to. I've been busy. So this may be old news to many of you, since it's from earlier this month. But I still wanted to note it in case you haven't heard about it already, and as a reference for myself.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that evidence gathered as a result of errors in a police database is admissible in court. Their narrow decision is wrong, and will only ensure that police databases remain error-filled in the future.

The specifics of the case are simple. A computer database said there was a felony arrest warrant pending for Bennie Herring when there actually wasn't. When the police came to arrest him, they searched his home and found illegal drugs and a gun. The Supreme Court was asked to rule whether the police had the right to arrest him for possessing those items, even though there was no legal basis for the search and arrest in the first place.

What's at issue here is the exclusionary rule, which basically says that unconstitutionally or illegally collected evidence is inadmissible in court. It might seem like a technicality, but excluding what is called "the fruit of the poisonous tree" is a security system designed to protect us all from police abuse.

Read more....

Really, we keep slouching towards a point where we won't have any rights.

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