Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Matt Saldaña has posted Counterterrorism Roadblocks: Constitutional Under the Fourth Amendment? (Ohio North University Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, this Article considers the constitutionality of a counterterrorism roadblock "set up to thwart an imminent terrorist attack." It explores the unique line of cases permitting suspicionless, warrantless seizures of vehicles and their occupants at highway checkpoints (i.e. roadblocks) whose “primary purpose” is something other than “detect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.” Under this line of cases, the requirement, under the Fourth Amendment, that police officers develop probable cause — or, in limited situations, individualized suspicion — prior to effecting a seizure, is abandoned, so long as the seizure is “reasonable.” This reasoning, contained in the 2000 case City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, is distinct from, though related to, the so-called “special needs” doctrine.
While writing for the Court in Edmond, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor suggested in dictum that “the Fourth Amendment would almost certainly permit an appropriately tailored roadblock set up to thwart an imminent terrorist attack or to catch a dangerous criminal who is likely to flee by way of a particular route.”