Mar 7 2016
11:23 am

So the background is that, without a warrant, ATF installed a covert video camera on a power pole which allowed them to conduct 24 hour surveillance of Rocky's home. At some point they asked for and received a warrant. At trial video was shown that was taken pre-warrant. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says Rocky's rights weren't violated because an ATF agent could have sat on top of that pole for two weeks and surveiled Rocky's house and not violated his rights.

So here we are. At this very moment, police organizations around this nation are demanding that it be made illegal for a citizen to photograph officers. We have the NRA demanding that convicted felons have their right to carry firearms restored. And... we have entered a digital age in which police seem to be arguing that they have every right to fly a drone around our properties on a 24 hour basis and video everything that goes on, even looking in our windows. our constitutional right to privacy be damned.

Frankly, I'm still amused by the appeals court's mental picture of an ATF agent covertly living on top of a power pole for two weeks and not being seen by Rocky Houston.

Let's note that whether or not Rocky had a weapon is irrelevant. The constitutional question is this and only this, "Does the government have the right to spy on us without a warrant?"

The Brennan Center (NY University School of Law) filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in U.S. v. Houston on February 29, 2016, arguing that police must get a warrant to engage in long-term, covert video surveillance of a home.

This is very disturbing!

This is very disturbing!

A lot of people and groups

A lot of people and groups have joined in the amicus brief. They are essentially calling for the local court to get in step with the Supreme Court decisions. I'm hopeful, but I don't like the attitude that "we'll do it until someone forces us to stop."

The ATF...

Was gong precisely by what the case law was AT THE TIME THEY STARTED THE SURVEILLANCE. They had no better guidance. When a case came into being that made a warrant necessary, they immediately got a warrant. You cannot be more responsive than that. They cannot be held responsibly for following case law before it existed.


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