Feb 202011
 February 20, 2011  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Surveillance

Orin Kerr writes:

In Sarasota, Florida, a vacant lot next to an apartment building has become a vibrant open-air drug market. The police are having trouble cleaning it up. So the police tried something they had never tried before: The applied for, and obtained, a warrant to search “all persons” who parked or set foot in the apartment building parking lot.

During the two-hour raid, a dozen people were searched and, even though officers justified the wide search by telling a judge no “innocent persons” congregated in the abandoned lot, only four people were charged with drug crimes. An 80-year-old man was among those detained, then released, during the operation

I haven’t seen the actual warrant, and all we have is a press report, but it sounds pretty plainly unconstitutional to me.

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Update: The affidavit for the warrant can be found on the Herald Tribune site as a companion to their story on this case.

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