Supreme Court: Strip Searches for All, Even Minor Offenders

The Supreme Court's opinion in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington has created quite a stir this week. The opinion, authored personally by Justice Anthony Kennedy with concurrences from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, authorizes jails to conduct strip searches of all inmates, even those who are being booked for minor offenses such as traffic violations, regardless of whether or not prison authorities deem them suspicious.

Albert Florence, the plaintiff, filed his suit against the government after being arrested, subjected to a strip search, and put in prison for several days following a routine traffic stop. He was booked on charges of failure to pay a fine, a fine which he had actually paid years earlier. Yesterday I appeared for an interview on WGBH radio's
Emily Rooney Show, in which I discussed the dangerous implications of both faulty police databases and the Court's granting such expansive authority to law enforcement and prison officials.
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Boston College, the Belfast Project and the Academy of Betrayal

Last week I co-wrote, with my research assistant Daniel Schwartz, a blog post for the Huffington Post about the legal battles surrounding Boston College's Belfast Project. The Belfast Project, a groundbreaking oral history undertaking conducted by former IRA member Anthony McIntyre and journalist Ed Maloney, was meant to chronicle "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. They conducted ground-level interviews with key players from both sides, seeking candid and open records of the fighting in exchange for the promise that the testimonies would be confidential until death.

But now that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has decided to reopen a 40-year-old cold murder case, the British government has subpoenaed the Belfast Project's records for use in the investigation. In our blog post, we discuss BC's lackluster legal defense of academic freedom and the unconscionable dereliction of its duty to defend its scholars' First Amendment rights.
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Rutgers Conviction Goes Too Far

The New Jersey Star Ledger has a piece out today in which Paul Mulshine discusses the recent conviction of Dharun Ravi. Ravi shared a Rutgers dorm room with Tyler Clementi, a gay student who later committed suicide, and faced charges stemming from his setting up a camera to spy on Clementi. In comments I made for the article, I suggest that while Clementi's privacy rights were clearly violated by Ravi's camera setup, the New Jersey legislature's attempt to create new hate crime and anti-harassment laws in response to the Rutgers case is an overreaction that violates the principle of equal application of the law. This case should have been a matter of a fundamental violation of privacy rights. Instead, the New Jersey legislature and Rutgers administrators are fighting an ideological battle to make political correctness the law of the land.
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Should Attleboro Teens Have Been Arrested After Posting Threats On Facebook?

Two days ago I was asked to appear on WBUR Radio's "Radio Boston" in order to discuss a recent case that has gotten quite a bit of press. The case involves two Attleboro, MA teenagers who were arrested after posting comments on Facebook about school shootings. Slate's Emily Bazelon and I discussed the charges before taking questions from callers.

You can find my interview after the jump.
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Why Individuality Matters--John Stossel and David Boaz discuss Three Felonies a Day

Last night on Stossel, John Stossel discussed individual liberty with the Cato Institute's David Boaz. When asked about the big issues facing America, Boaz mentions the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then cites my book Three Felonies a Day, and discusses the real problem of ever proliferating vague federal statutes. Take a look at the video here.  

Tonight, I will be appearing on Stossel to discuss overcriminalization in America. The show, entitled "Illegal Everything," will broadcast on Fox Business at 9PM. 


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