Patriot Act's "Sneak and Peek" Warrants Used in Domestic Cockfighting Case
The Patriot Act expanded the government's ability to use sneak and peek (delayed notice) warrants.
“This is one of the few provisions of the Patriot Act that was sneaked into the Patriot Act in the middle of the night so that no one knew it was there,” said Michelle Richardson, a legislative consultant for the ACLU’s Washington, D.C., Legislative Office. “It was passed without everyone knowing about it.”
Prior to the Patriot Act, she said, federal courts had held that agents could conduct secret searches and defer notifying the targets for short periods of time in very limited circumstances, such as when someone’s life might be in danger.
“But this broadens it to include (the risk of) interference with an investigation, and this creates a sort of catch-all for law enforcement when it’s inconvenient for them to follow the rules,” she said.
She also said federal authorities aren’t required to release information on how many of the searches are done each year, although in 2005 the government confirmed that only 12 percent of them were related to terrorism.
“The rest are mostly drug cases,” she said. “They don’t even purport that this is a terrorism tool.”
We need to be vigilant about keeping terror laws and drug laws separate, except in such instances where the two clearly are linked. We already have laws that penalize terrorism and laws that penalize illicit drug activity. There is no need to combine them.
Same goes for cockfighting laws.
|< Rove and His Family's Future: Paying Legal Fees | Justice Department Power to Speed Up State Executions >|