Search & Seizure

"...every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment."— Justice Brandeis (Olmstead v. US)

The Rutherford Institute fights to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights—the right to individual privacy and to be free from unnecessary government intrusions by prohibiting the government from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures.

Between the “war on terror” and the militarization of the police, Americans are facing increasing government intrusion into their daily lives. With the passage of sweeping laws such as the USA Patriot Act many find themselves questioning whether we really are living under Orwell’s Big Brother government. Many of our nation’s leading newspapers are littered with reports of increased government surveillance and invasions of privacy. Police forces around the country have become more militaristic and abusive toward average citizens. From reaching into our glove compartments in a “random search” to scanning our bodies at the airport, the government is out to acquire a variety of information about all of us.

So whether it be invasive drug testing, weapons searches, illegal police roadblocks, unauthorized surveillance, or intrusive school policies, The Rutherford Institute is dedicated to preserving our individual right to privacy.

Key Cases in Search and Seizure:

Our Recent Work in Search and Seizure

Rutherford Institute Sues Transportation Security Administration Over Virtual Strip Searches, Unregulated Use of Whole Body Imagers at Airports

TRI Asks Court of Appeals to Hold Gov't Officials Accountable for Strip Search, Arrest & Detention of Disabled Man Based on Slurred Speech, Unsteady Gait

Rutherford Institute Sues Police, Health Officials for Arresting & Detaining Disabled Man in Mental Health Facility Based on Slurred Speech, Unsteady Gait

Citing First & Fourth Amendments, Rutherford Institute Asks Appeals Court to Reinstate Lawsuit Over Marine’s Arrest, Detention Due to Facebook Posts

Rejecting Gov’t Claims That Cabbies Have No Right to Privacy, Rutherford Urges Court to Declare NYC’s Surveillance of Taxi Cabs Unconstitutional

VICTORY: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Privacy Rights, 9-0, Requires that Officers Obtain a Warrant in Order to Search Cell Phones Confiscated During Arrest

Rutherford Institute Attorneys Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Citizens Against 4th Amendment Violations by Police Officers Ignorant of the Law

Failing to Hold Police, Law Enforcement Accountable for Wrongdoing, U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Immunity Protections for Government Officials

Commentary on Search and Seizure Issues

Ignorance Is No Excuse for Wrongdoing, Unless You’re a Cop

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

Who Will Protect You from the Police? The Rise of Government-Sanctioned Home Invasions

College Girls, Bottled Water and the Emerging American Police State

Smile, the Government Is Watching: Next Generation Identification

The Corporate Surveillance State: How the Thought Police Use Your Cell Phone to Track Your Every Move

Whatever Happened to Justice? Supreme Court OKs Police Tasering Pregnant Women

Strip-Searching America: Florence v. County of Burlington

Everybody’s a Target in the American Surveillance State

New York City: Prototype of the American Police State?