Monday, January 19, 2009

ACLU files suit on FBI, local police raid and computer seizure against activists in CA; Fourth Amendment?

The federal government is still sometimes seizing computers of organizations, businesses, or even individuals under what appear to be illegal or unconstitutional circumstances, with respect to the Fourth Amendment. On Aug. 27, 2008 a group in Berkley, CA called Long Haul and the East Bay Prisoner Support Group (EBPS), which publishes a newspaper caked Slingshot was raided by University of California Police, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a story on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the story dated Jan. 14, 2009, here. The Slingshot account is here.

There is an Earth First Journal account here. There is some suggestion of association with animal rights activists, and some suggestion that the government was maintaining that the group was promoting itself as aiding with illegal activity.

But the constitutional questions remain. When is “advocacy” speech illegal? Supposedly when there is the threat of eminent lawless action.

The story bears watching.

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