Friday, April 7, 2006
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in U.S. v. Gourde, No. 03-30262, ruled that mere membership in a pornographic website that contains both legal and illegal porn is enough to authorize the FBI to search a home computer. The 7-2 decision provoked a strong dissent from two judges who are on the liberal and conservative extremes of the court joined forces.
"The majority concludes that the [search warrant] affidavit made out probable cause by assuming that anyone who subscribes to an internet site with both legal and illegal material must collect illegal material from the site," wrote Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, a conservative appointee of President George H.W. Bush. "This assumption stacks inference upon inference until the conclusion is too weak to support the invasion of privacy entailed by a search warrant," wrote Kleinfeld. More from the National Law Journal. . . [Mark Godsey]