Virginia Slides Towards a Police State, Proposed Fourth Amendment Shredded

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warrantless search

You’ll never know you’re being investigated

The Fairfax Free Citizen

In a sharply worded article in, Constitutional expert Mark Fitzgibbons laments the failure of a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates to pass a six-sentence proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would update the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment to address 21st century threats.

Says Mr. Fitzgibbons:

It seemed Virginia was poised to make historic progress with a “21st Century Fourth Amendment” that would protect digital information the same as “papers and effects” found in James Madison’s original version. The six-sentence proposed amendment also protects “lands” alongside “houses” from the original, which would prevent drones from snooping on our backyards and fields without a warrant.

With over two centuries of hindsight and thousands of pages of case law – some good and some bad – the 21st Century version adds better clarity about terms such as “probable cause” and “unreasonable searches and seizures,” but consistent with the purposes of the original.

During the same week the House subcommittee defeated the proposed amendment, another part of the the General Assembly:

… voted to allow Virginia to subpoena records from computer service companies without following a single requirement of the Fourth Amendment. …

These subpoenas are in fact “general warrants” by not limiting the searches to a specific location. General warrants were one reason why the American Revolution was fought.

Read more of Mr. Fitzgibbons’ blunt and insightful critique of these legislative debacles, including his references to James Madison, John Adams, and Lavrentiy Beria—Joseph Stalin’s Secret Police Chief—here.

Other material about Virginia’s slide toward a “police state” by Mr. Fitzgibbons is available here, here, and here.

Virginia Free Citizen

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