NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Fourth Amendment Center
NACDL's Fourth Amendment Center offers direct assistance to defense lawyers handling cases involving new surveillance tools, technologies and tactics that infringe on the constitutional rights of people in America. The Center is available to help members of the defense bar in bringing new Fourth Amendment challenges.
To request assistance or additional information, contact 4AC@nacdl.org.
Launched in April 2018, the Fourth Amendment Center seeks to build a robust legal infrastructure to challenge outdated legal doctrines that undermine privacy rights in the digital age. To this end, the Center is available to provide litigation assistance in cases raising new Fourth Amendment concerns, including:
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The NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice preserves and promotes the core values of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American criminal justice system.
Defense lawyers with cases involving any of these issues are encouraged to contact the Center. The Center is available to provide consultations and litigation resources as well as direct assistance in support of a defendant’s Fourth Amendment claims. Specifically, the Center may assist in motion practice, preparation for suppression hearings, appellate strategy, brief writing, and oral argument. The Center also provides group trainings for defense lawyers around the country and upon request.
In United States v. Chatrie, No. 3:19-cr-130 (E.D. Va.), Okello Chatrie was charged with armed robbery based on Google Sensorvault location data obtained by law enforcement via a geofence warrant. Chatrie is represented by Michael Price, Senior Litigation Counsel for the Fourth Amendment Center, and Laura Koenig, a public defender in the Eastern District of Virginia. According to The Washington Post, prosecutors have called the case the first of its kind.
Increasingly, technology is being used in the criminal legal system to identify DNA samples, assess risk factors in release decisions, match images in face recognition technology and even determine where or who the police should be patrolling and investigating. From probabilistic genotyping to “risk assessment” software, the recent explosion of emerging technologies has transformed almost every aspect of the criminal legal system. Increasing amounts of data and evidence are being interrogated and generated using software systems that are kept from defense teams, the courts, and the general public. The assertion of “trade secrets” by the companies who develop these tools deprive defense lawyers of access to information on how the software was constructed and the opportunity to assess its accuracy, credibility and reliability. How can criminal defense attorneys understand and confront the limitations of software-based evidence and machine learning algorithms in criminal proceedings?
On February 17 at 1:30pm ET, the Fourth Amendment Center will be presenting a free, CLE webinar guiding defense attorneys through the challenges of obtaining “black box” evidence and confronting the flaws, bugs, and biases embedded in technologies deployed in the criminal justice system. This webinar will feature Megan Graham, Clinical Supervising Attorney in the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley, School of Law, Joanna Kloet, Assistant Federal Defender in the Western District of Michigan, and Nitin Kohli, PhD candidate at the UC Berkeley School of Information.
This new report by NACDL and the Samuelson Clinic makes the case for Congress to act immediately to protect the attorney-client privilege in emails sent between attorneys' offices and people in BOP custody. It also calls for the BOP to stop its practice of requiring incarcerated clients to “voluntarily” agree that their email will be monitored and that attorney-client privilege will not apply to legal emails, just as the government is required to in other contexts.
Jumana Musa, Director of the Fourth Amendment Center, recently joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation's podcast How to Fix the Internet to discuss discuss how the third-party doctrine is undermining our Fourth Amendment right to privacy when we use digital services, and how recent court victories are a hopeful sign that we may reclaim these privacy rights in the future.
NACDL filed an amicus brief with American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, arguing that prosecutors wishing to listen in on calls a defendant makes from jail must first get a warrant. This is in support of the State v. Jackson case (Superior Court of New Jersey; Case No. 083286), which argued that defendant Mark Jackson had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the calls he made to his mother from jail. Jackson did not forfeit all privacy rights in his telephone conversations by exposing them to jail staff for security monitoring purposes. Requiring prosecutors to secure warrants in order to access jail calls is the only adequate way to protect the constitutional and policy interests the calls implicate.
Since 2017, the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office has called over 2,000 convictions into question related to police misconduct. In one instance, a Baltimore Police Department body-worn camera appeared to show an officer planting drugs at the scene of an arrest. As law enforcement agencies are increasingly using surveillance tools and forensic technologies to identify and arrest suspects in criminal investigations, defense attorneys are faced with the challenge of both defending their clients and holding police accountable for misconduct and abuse. How can criminal defense attorneys turn police technologies on police departments in criminal proceedings?
This webinar from August 11, 2020 featured Debbie Levi, Director of Special Litigation with the Baltimore City Public Defender, and Ivan Bates, Managing Partner of Bates & Garcia, P.C.
This two-day CLE conference discussed the government's use of technologically advanced investigative techniques in criminal cases, and the issues raised by those techniques under the Fourth Amendment and other federal law.
This CLE was co-sponsored by NACDL and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT), and held at International House, the University of California - Berkeley from November 29 to 30, 2018.
NACDL provides amicus assistance on the federal and state level in those cases that present issues of importance to criminal defendants, criminal defense lawyers, and the criminal justice system as a whole. A selection of NACDL's amicus briefs that address the Fourth Amendment in the digital age are offered below.
The Center is available to provide consultations and litigation resources as well as direct assistance in support of a defendant’s Fourth Amendment claims. Specifically, the Center may assist in motion practice, preparation for suppression hearings, appellate strategy, brief writing, and oral argument. The Center also provides group trainings for defense lawyers around the country and upon request.
To request assistance or additional information, contact 4AC@nacdl.org.