Fourth Amendment

Essential Pittsburgh
3:27 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

How Cell Phone Search And Seizure Could Radically Affect Privacy

The United States Supreme Court heard two cases last week involving search and seizure of cell phone information. If determined constitutional, police could use evidence found in the phone during a trial without a warrant.
Credit Jonas Seaman / flickr

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases with outcomes that could have a big impact on the future of information privacy.

These cases question the Fourth Amendment exception, which lets police to search any items on a person at the time of arrest, including cell phones.

Yet many argue that cell phones should be treated differently. University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris explained why many say cell phones are more akin to a diary than a wallet and should require a warrant for search and seizure.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:22 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Interpreting the Fourth Amendment in the 21st Century

Credit David Glover / flickr

Last month judges in New York and Washington DC issued two different opinions on the controversial bulk metadata collection program being done by the NSA.

In light of these conflicting decisions, many wonder if the Supreme Court will take up the issue.

David Harris, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law University of Pittsburgh School of Law says the opposite rulings were products of the environments where the judges preside, as well as the radically different views of the Fourth Amendment.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Legality of DNA Swab Testing After Arrest

DNA swab testing may become the "gold standard" of reliable evidence gathering.
Credit Kendra Griffiths /

In a 5-4 majority, the United States Supreme Court concluded suspects can be subjected to a police DNA test after arrest and before trial and conviction. DNA samples would go into a national database and could possible be used to solve "cold cases." However, it calls into question the issue of personal privacy vs. public safety.

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