Important 4th Amendment case

The Bill of Rights isn’t completely dead:

Appeals Court Rules Aerial Police Tracking of Citizens Violates Fourth Amendment

The use of surveillance planes in Baltimore to track people’s movement for long periods without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The case revolved around an air surveillance program run by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) called Aerial Investigation Research (AIR). Beginning in 2016, BPD announced it would be using cameras attached to planes to conduct aerial surveillance to fight crime.


13 thoughts on “Important 4th Amendment case

  1. Don’t most people carry phones? I mean police should get a warrant to track suspects. Seems outdated/expensive to fly around watching someone.
    It’s a good call though. As drones will be a giant part of police work soon.

    • They need a warrant to get phone data too. That SCOTUS decision was a big part of the aerial surveillance decision.

      • Sounds like like the blind dog, (SCOTUS), finally found a bone! Good deal.

  2. Yes well, in 2020 we demonstrated, not only in America, to America, but all around the world, to the world, that in an “emergency” (even under the flimsiest of evidence) all bets are off. We think that we won’t let the government shut us down, so that we go broke and lose our livelihoods, but millions did do it themselves on command. So-called rights go out the window when the proper words are spoken by the proper authorities. Then we’ll put our rights aside ourselves, and police one another! Therefore the powers-that-should-not-be have no problem saying that we have “rights”, for now, to placate us, but which later will be put aside for “The Common Good”.

    It’s a standard feature of the beast that it speaks out of both sides of its putrid mouth, and it’s an equally common feature that most of us will lap up the lies, even eagerly, as though it’s manna from Heaven, thinking ourselves the wiser for it, and more prudent. Just wait and see. But when it happens, will you acknowledge it? We’ll see.

    Last year was a forerunner of something bigger. They’ll have us cowering in our homes, or doing this or not doing that, or saying this or not saying that, for fear of public shaming, or worse, and we’ll go right along with it, and the Bill of Rights will have been put aside or “re-imagined”.

    “Surely”, it will be said, “the founding fathers could not have foreseen (fill in the blanks – The “need” for “Climate Justice” or whatever) and even many libertarians will go along with it, redefining it as “liberty” so they can keep believing they’re free.

    The world has a long and bloody history of people going along with whatever mass insanity is in vogue, so as to avoid greater or more immediate pain, and rationalizing it so as to remain “free”. What, specifically, would lead you to believe that anything has changed? Has there already been a genetic re-sequencing of the human brain or something, that I missed?

  3. As if a mere opinion of a judge will actually keep LEO from doing something.
    The REAL question is what are the penalties….the consequences to LEO
    who violate our 4A ( and other) Rights. If there are none then there is NO
    REASON for them to obey such a ruling. THAT fact is at the heart of almost
    all the problems we face regarding LEO. They almost NEVER pay a personal
    price for their conduct.

    • “….If there are none then there is NO
      REASON for them to obey such a ruling.”

      And that right there is the major weak point in the U.S Constitution – no enforcement mechanism for violations. As John Adams stated “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

      I suspect Mr. Adams, and others of his time and association, were of sufficient moral standing as to believe trust and honesty a uniform standard; back then, it probably was. Today, not so much.

      Two weeks of Mssrs. Adams, Franklin, Henry, Hancock, and a few others visiting our time would certainly change that; while we’re waiting for a time machine to be perfected, we might as well undertake that task ourselves, among several others.

      • No weak points. Just no enforcement. 18 USC,241 and 242 provide plenty of penalty for violation of rights. Treason anyone?
        The problem is it’s a big club. And you ain’t a member.
        Our forefathers were explaining that to us. “Wholly unsuited to any other.” Means, those that aren’t, get kicked out.
        As in tar, feathers, and rail rides. Lamp post decorations. And the original meaning of stocks and bonds. At which point the term, don’t come back, is unnecessary.

    • If word gets to the defense attorney that the police used unconstitutional methods to apprehend their client then they can get the case dismissed (or at least the evidence from the “fruit of the poisonous tree”). The prosecutors get annoyed when this happens and will lecture the police about spoiling their case.

  4. They don’t need a warrant. They just need the stinger technology. It was first used and still is in fake cell towers around DC. It was used in Ferguson, MO as well. Not just Baltimore.

    • They do “need” a warrant, the Constitution says so.
      But if you meant “they don’t bother to get a warrant” then I agree. And while in theory these violations are Federal felonies, in practice it doesn’t seem anyone ever gets prosecuted for this, let alone convicted. I suppose it’s a case of the sharks protecting each other.

  5. (Being the Devil’s advocate) Since this was actually a private company collecting the public data, and selling it to the police, how can the court say it’s a violation?

    • There’s SCOTUS precedent that the government can’t outsource actions to others that would be unconstitutional if done directly by them.

      • Like spying on US citizens, but it’s OK if we get the Brits to do it for us? 😉

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