consultants are sandburs

Monday, May 04, 2015

Privacy rights and the Fourth Amendment right against excessive government search and seizure, and the right to due process of law, are not tested by interaction of the best citizens and state power, but often by unsympathetic individuals facing state penal sanctions fighting for their rights in court. Good law-abiding citizens do not get arrested, so testing the limits of state power rests with the more unsavory of our folks.

With the headline forecasting a direction, readers might consider the Ninth Circuit case of Mr. Dryer's computer content search, and his subsequently facing a child pornography charge. Reported by Seattle Times, here, linking to the online 34 page court opinion.

And while you might feel judgmental toward child pornography and those making and trading in it, the bottom line is this creep is protecting your computer and your privacy from government agents searching the one and breaching the other. So cut some slack. Mr. Dryer is a repeat offender, and if he does not change his ways the State likely will have another chance at putting him in the slammer. Yet his personal status is irrelevant to the social good of his contesting the charge, and winning on citizen privacy rights as his argument.

Last, Mr. Dryer's charge arose via an NCIS investigation, and if you watch TV you must wonder, isn't NCIS supposed to be the good guys? Not trampling on citizen rights? Mark Harmon would never, never do that.

But he's fiction.

That the search-seizure was done by NCIS persons puts the military into the picture, and that raises Posse Comitatus concerns. If you don't recognize the term, you should, and it is an easy term for websearch. The news report addresses the Posse Comitatus dimension of Mr. Dryer's encounter. The 34 page opinion also discusses Posse Comitatus.

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