3RD LEAD (Adds Court Opinion)

Oregon judge voids Patriot Act provisions

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 September 2007, 01:52 GMT]
A federal judge in Oregon ruled Wednesday that the USA Patriot Act violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable search and seizure as the act "permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the 4th Amendment."

PDF IconFull text of Aiken opinion (114kb)
"It is critical that we, as a democratic nation, pay close attention to traditional Fourth Amendment principles," wrote Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in her 44-page decision. "The Fourth Amendment has served this nation well for 220 years, through many other perils," CNN report said quoting Aiken ruling.

The government "is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. The court declines to do so," Aiken said.

The decision is a victory for Brandon Mayfield, an Oregon lawyer who challenged the Patriot Act after he was mistakenly linked to the 2004 Madrid, Spain, train bombings because of a botched fingerprint match.

The ruling follows the 6th September decision of the Southern District of New York which ruled unconstitutional a provision in the Patriot Act authorizing the FBI to issue a form of administrative subpoena, called a National Security Letter (NSL), to demand e-mail and telephone data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations. The provisions violated the 1st Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers, the court ruled.

4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Related Articles:
25.08.07   Australia terror prosecution debacle
12.07.07   Anti-terror Laws
28.05.07   Sloganeering Terror, Strategizing War

External Links:
WP: Oregon judge knocks down part of Patriot Act
Wiki: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
CNN:  Federal judge rules 2 Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional
Wiki: National Security Letter
EPIC: USA Patriot Act


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