US federal judges resisting law enforcement demands for electronic evidence

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Smith) - One of the shirts that Judge James Orenstein of Brooklyn designed.


Photo via Washington Post, courtesy of magistrate judge Stephen Smith: A t-shirt designed by Judge James Orenstein of Brooklyn.

"Judges at the lowest levels of the federal judiciary are balking at sweeping requests by law enforcement officials for cellphone and other sensitive personal data, declaring the demands overly broad and at odds with basic constitutional rights," reports the Washington Post.

"This rising assertiveness by magistrate judges — the worker bees of the federal court system — has produced rulings that elate civil libertarians and frustrate investigators, forcing them to meet or challenge tighter rules for collecting electronic evidence."

An interesting footnote observed by Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm: "All federal magistrate judges are on a giant email list where they ask each other legal questions."

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  1. This is promising. The federal judiciary hasn't exactly redeemed itself on electronic surveillance over the years, but perhaps the judges are now aware of the consequences. I can only hope that lifetime tenure and independence allow these judges to come to the right decisions. The Founders may yet save our asses again (with a little help from Ed Snowden).

  2. I can only hope that lifetime tenure and independence allow these judges to come to the right decisions.

    I hope so as well. But, I'm sure you'll agree we still have to watch judges very closely...

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