Federal Court Strikes Down Patriot Act Search and Surveillance Provisions

September 27, 2007 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — A federal district court in Oregon last night struck down two search and surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act as unconstitutional. The decision came in a case brought by Brandon Mayfield against the federal government after the FBI mistakenly linked him to the Madrid train bombings in 2004. The court found that secret searches of Mayfield’s house and office violated the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project:

“The court was absolutely right to strike down these unlawful provisions of the Patriot Act. The Fourth Amendment’s probable cause requirement is one of the most important safeguards against an overreaching government. By allowing the FBI to conduct searches and wiretaps in criminal investigations without first demonstrating criminal probable cause, these Patriot Act provisions allow an end run around basic constitutional rules. There is no reason why the FBI can’t investigate criminal activity – including terrorism – while at the same time complying with the Constitution.”

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