Man's Best Friend Is No Friend to the Fourth Amendment

In a bizarre mid-February opinion in the case of Florida v. Clayton Harris, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a drug-sniffing dog’s credentials—rather than his field accuracy—are what matter in determining whether the dog’s tail-wagging “alert” creates sufficient probable cause for police to conduct a search without a warrant. This elevation of credentials over demonstrated skill should come as no surprise: Of the nine Supreme Court justices, five were full-time academics at some point before joining the Court, three were adjunct professors and only one earned his stripes exclusively in the real world. In my most recent piece for, I explain how the Florida v. Clayton Harris ruling is an invasion of citizens’ privacy rights that nevertheless united a divided Court based on the justices’ shared reverence for impressive curriculum vitae. 

The column after the jump...

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Preserving Justice by Saying No

My book review of Jess Bravin’s new book, TERROR COURTS: ROUGH JUSTICE AT GUANTANAMO BAY (Yale University Press) is now available on  The book is a very interesting read by a very sophisticated reporter of law and justice issues. The review after the jump...

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Kevin Cullen writes about my former client David LaMacchia

The tragic suicide of computer genius Aaron Swartz earlier this month has sparked widespread criticism of the Justice Department and of how prosecutors Carmen Ortiz and Steve Heymann mishandled Swartz’s case. I wrote my own piece for last week’s Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about how Swartz was hardly the first victim of this system run amok. In his column for Tuesday’s Boston Globe, columnist Kevin Cullen writes about the similar case of David LaMacchia. I represented LaMacchia when he was a student at MIT nineteen years ago and found himself in trouble with the DOJ after using the MIT system to copy software and post it to a virtual bulletin board for others to freely access. Unbelievably, LaMacchia was actually pursued by the same career prosecutor who eventually went after Swartz.

Cullen’s haunting piece begs to be read and shared. You can find it on the Boston Globe's website.
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The Swartz suicide and the sick culture of the DOJ

In the aftermath of the unfathomably sad suicide of Aaron Swartz, I was asked to do an op-ed for the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. I was given leave to be frank, and so I was frank. The piece after the jump...

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Campus Censorship Breeds Societal Dysfunction

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (or FIRE, whose board of directors I chair), has written a remarkable and groundbreaking new book: Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. In it, he posits that pervasive censorship and disregard for due process on our nation’s campuses have disrupted the gears and self-correcting mechanisms essential for the functioning of our free society. In my latest column, I explain how the mindless totalitarianism that befouls the vast majority of our college campuses helps explain some of the injustices of our legal system. The degradation of important social and legal institutions begins somewhere, and I agree with Lukianoff that a lot of our problems start with what is happening in our sadly degenerated system of higher education.

You can find the piece on my Injustice Department blog.
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