Ever wonder how the law adapts to technology that makes it harder or easier for police to search and seize suspected criminals? Orin Kerr posits that an Equilibrium-adjustment exists. "Courts respond to the new facts by trying to restore the old level of protection. If a new technology or practice increased government power, courts ratchet up Fourth Amendment...
How We Got to Caballes
"The Fourth Amendment asserts that the 'right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.' For more than a century after the founding, interpreting this was relatively straightforward: A 'search' was defined along the lines of common law trespass. If police came on to your property to rifle your things, that was a search. If they merely saw you foolishly committing a crime in front of your open window, in 'plain view,' it was not.
That logic led the Supreme Court to conclude, in the 1928 case Olmstead v. United States, that a wiretap on a suspect's phone wasn't a search, since it required no physical intrusion on the target's property. It was not until Katz v. United States (1957) that the Court changed its mind and ruled that 'the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.' New technology that allowed for observation without physical intrusion meant that a 'search' would have to be redefined in terms of an 'expectation of privacy…that society is prepared to recognize as 'reasonable.'"
More About This Topic...
Click thumbnails below to view links