'Sneak and Peeks' Used in Oregon Lawyer Case

Cleared Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield's case provides an excellent example of the danger of the Patriot Act's Sneak and Peek" provisions--an end run around the Fourth Amendment's requirement that authorities notify the residents of a home when they have been inside to search for evidence:

Mayfield said there were obvious signs that someone was repeatedly entering the modest white house when the family was out. The Mayfields would arrive home to find window blinds adjusted much higher than any one could reach. Footprints left in the living room's plush white carpet were larger than any of those belonging to Mayfield, his wife, Mona, and his two sons.

Railing against the USA Patriot Act at a news conference Monday, Mayfield said the secret break-ins are one example of how the antiterror law threatens to rip apart constitutional rights to privacy and security. "This is the state of affairs we find ourselves in today," he said. "We find ourselves living in a climate of fear." ....Mayfield called the whole ordeal, from the home searches to his two weeks behind bars, "humiliating." Sounding weary, he added: "You can't trade your freedom for security. Because if you do, you're going to lose both."

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