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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Police can’t delay traffic stops to investigate crimes absent suspicion, Supreme Court rules


Police can’t delay traffic stops to investigate crimes absent suspicion, Supreme Court rules

By Orin Kerr April 21 at 3:18 PM

The Supreme Court handed down a notable Fourth Amendment ruling this morning in Rodriguez v. United States, holding that the Fourth Amendment does not allow the police to extend the duration of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, even for just a “de minimis” amount of time, for reasons unrelated to vehicle and driver safety. The vote was 6-3, with Justice Ginsburg writing for the majority and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito dissenting. I’m pleased with the Court’s opinion. The Court’s holding, and the reasoning, matches up well with the approach I have suggested.

The issue in the case: When the police make a routine traffic stop, can the police delay the duration of the stop, even just for a small amount of time, to wait for drug sniffing dogs, absent any articulable suspicion to believe that there are drugs in the car? The Court has previously held that officers are allowed to use drug-sniffing dogs at a traffic stop so long as the use of the dogs does not delay the stop. This case raises the flip question: What if use of the dogs delays the stop just a little bit. Is that okay? How much leeway do the police have on the duration of the stop, given that a traffic stop is a seizure and its duration would normally determine how reasonable the delay is?

The case may ring a bell for regular readers, as I’ve blogged about it a bunch of times. My prior posts include this post when the lower court ruled; this post when the Court granted cert, this video after the grant, and this post after the Supreme Court’s argument...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 22, 2015, 01:21 PM (2 replies)

'Wellness Guru' Belle Gibson lied about having brain cancer, profited from lying about bogus cancer


'Wellness Guru' Belle Gibson lied about having brain cancer, profited from lying about bogus cancer cures

By Xeni Jardin

After journalists dug into her questionable cancer cure claims, "natural healing" huckster Belle Gibson has admitted she lied to her followers, her friends, her family, and vulnerable cancer patients about having cancer, and curing her cancer with food and woo.

The 23-year-old Australian bullshitted the entire world about having terminal brain cancer, and profited from her completely fictional story via her "natural wellness" app, The Whole Pantry. On her blog, she claims she cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar. Shocking, I know, but: this is not how cancer works.

Last month, Gibson failed to donate the $300K she promised from sales of her app to charity. Friends had (jesus, finally?) begun to question whether her cancer story might be made up. Police in Victoria said they would not pursue criminal charges against Gibson, but the internet seems ready to pursue its own version of justice: The Great Moment of Mass Shaming.


In an exclusive interview in the May issue of The Australian Women's Weekly on sale today wellness advocate Belle Gibson admits her cancer diagnosis was not real...

...In a special investigation, The Weekly reveals the reality behind her cancer diagnosis, the current financial state of her business, The Whole Pantry - and her belief that she has been hard done by.

Gibson was asked outright if she has, or has ever had cancer.

“No. None of it’s true,” she confessed...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 22, 2015, 01:13 PM (5 replies)

A gun license surge in Massachusetts


By Catherine Cloutier Globe Staff April 20, 2015

The number of “license to carry” gun permits issued in Massachusetts spiked last year in anticipation of last summer’s passage of a sweeping gun control bill that tightened the state’s already strict firearms laws, according to a Globe analysis of state firearms data.

In the months prior to the law’s signing, many gun owners feared firearm licenses would soon be restricted or even eliminated, so “people wanted to make sure they got the license in case the state did something to limit them,” said Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

“There was a huge uptick while the Legislature was debating this issue,” he said...

...Overall, the number of active gun licenses of all types grew 5 percent, with a total of 355,272 in the state last year.

I wonder how that last sentence will be explained away by the excessively verbose posters that claim the rise in gun sales is due to previous gun owners adding to their collections...

Another take:


Mass. Sees Surge in Gun Licenses Last Year

...A Boston Globe analysis of state data found that the number of active Class A licenses - the license to carry category that includes the right to carry a concealed weapon - grew nearly 12 percent from 2013 and 2014. That was a significantly greater jump than in past years...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:23 PM (21 replies)

NY Civil Liberties Union: Erie County Sheriff Records Reveal Invasive Use of “Stingray” Technology


Erie County Sheriff Records Reveal Invasive Use of “Stingray” Technology

April 7, 2015 — The New York Civil Liberties Union released today records it received from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office on its use of ”stingrays,” devices that can track and record New Yorkers’ locations via their cell phones. The records showed that of the 47 times the Sheriff’s Office used stingrays in the past four years, it apparently only once obtained a court order, contradicting the sheriff’s own remarks.

“These records confirm some of the very worst fears about local law enforcement’s use of this expensive and intrusive surveillance equipment,” said NYCLU Staff Attorney Mariko Hirose. “Not only did the Sheriff’s Office promise the FBI breathtaking secrecy to keep information about stingrays as hidden as possible, it implemented almost no privacy protections for the Erie County residents it is sworn to protect and serve.”

Stingrays can collect information on all cell phones in a given area as well as precisely track particular phones, locating people within their own home, at a doctor’s office, at a political protest or in a church.

In March, a Supreme Court Justice ruled that the Sheriff’s Office must disclose information about stingrays after the NYCLU sued the office for failing to follow the law and respond to public information requests about how it uses the devices.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 08:56 PM (1 replies)

The FBI Lets Criminals Walk in Order to Keep This Device a Secret


The FBI Lets Criminals Walk in Order to Keep This Device a Secret

Kate Knibbs
Filed to: Stingrays

4/08/15 1:20pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is notoriously secretive about its cell phone tracking tools known as Stingrays. Now, new documents obtained by the ACLU show how the Feds keep their surveillance gadgets shrouded in mystery: the FBI makes cops dismiss criminal cases if they threaten to reveal secrets about Stingrays.

The American Civil Liberties Union received an unredacted copy of a six-page non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, once a court ordered that the ACLU had a right to request the information.

The agreement explicitly outlines the many steps local law enforcement needs to take in order to have permission to use the Stingrays, which are made by the Harris Corporation. Here’s the directive to stop prosecuting to protect the technology:

“In addition, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office will, at the request of the FBI, seek dismissal of the case in lieu of using or providing or allowing others to use or provide any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation”

Here's the NYCLU's page discussing this, with links to the relevant documents:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 08:52 PM (1 replies)
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