Patriot Act loses court challenge

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first_imgU.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, “now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment.” Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid, Spain, train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004. The federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread. Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the authority of law enforcement officials to investigate acts suspected to relate to terrorism. Mayfield said that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Aiken agreed with Mayfield, criticizing the government. “For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law – with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised,” she wrote. By asking her to dismiss Mayfield’s lawsuit, the judge said, the U.S. attorney general’s office was “asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so.” Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, saying she “has upheld both the tradition of judicial independence and our nation’s most cherished principle of the right to be secure in one’s own home.” The ruling probably won’t have any immediate affect on enforcement under the Patriot Act, according to legal experts who predicted the government would quickly appeal. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! RULING: Provisions of the security measure violate the Fourth Amendment, judge says. By William McCall THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PORTLAND, Ore. – Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. last_img

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