The Fourth Amendment, which grew directly out of the experiences of the American colonists during the 18th century, guarantees the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure…” A number of prominent cases involving transgressions of this amendment have arisen over the past few years, including those dealing with the rights of maintaining the privacy of public library records. This past week, an interesting case involving the Fourth Amendment appeared on the docket of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In this particular case, the Appeals panel rejected the claim of one Lonnie Maurice Hill, who claimed that a police search which found him partly unclothed with a woman, cocaine, and marijuana in the one-person restroom of a convenience store was a violation of his privacy. In the ruling, Judge Donald Lay noted that, “The Fourth Amendment protects people and not places”, and went on to say that the expectation of privacy in businesses “is different from, and indeed less than, a similar expectation in an individual’s home.”
The first link will take visitors to a news article from this Wednesday’s online Guardian that offers some additional insights into this recent ruling. The second link will take users to a piece from the (Racine) Journal Times that discusses an upcoming court case that involves a civil rights case in which a potential violation of the Fourth Amendment may have occurred during a rave-like party in 2002. The third link leads directly to the official panel ruling from the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, issued this past Tuesday. The fourth link leads to a helpful page provided by FindLaw.com that offers a broad history of the Fourth Amendment and its various interpretations over the past several centuries. The fifth link will take visitors to a webpage offered by a practicing criminal defense lawyer that provides a listing of recent rulings and opinions that deal with Fourth Amendment cases. The final link is provided by the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides helpful material about the Fourth Amendment.