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You can be detained indefinitely without reason or trial if the Feds want it so. All your emails are being analyzed by the NSA. They probably even know when you've been naughty (they may still be working on nice). But in one small blow for the Bill of Rights Federal District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled today that New York City Police must stop their indiscriminate Stop & Frisk tactics as they relate to private apartment buildings participating in New York City's Clean Halls Program.

A judge is putting the brakes on stop-and-frisk.

A federal judge today ordered the NYPD to "immediately cease" stopping people outside Bronx apartments enrolled in a voluntary anti-crime program unless cops have "reasonable suspicion of trespass...

...cops will be expected to justify every stop-and-frisk encounter.

She ordered the NYPD to revise its written policies and training for stop-and-frisk encounters inside and outside of buildings in the "Clean Halls" program. She also ordered the police to document each encounter and have supervisors periodically review them to make sure there was a reason for the stop.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) hailed this as a major victory, although the ruling is only a preliminary injunction. A full trial on the issue will come later.
"Today's decision is a major step toward dismantling the NYPD's stop-and-frisk regime," said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. "Operation Clean Halls has placed New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes in thousands of apartment buildings. This aggressive assault on people's constitutional rights must be stopped."

The preliminary injunction decision comes in the case of Ligon v. City of New York, which was filed on behalf of residents of buildings enrolled in Operation Clean Halls and individuals who were unlawfully stopped and arrested on trespassing charges through the program....

"With today's ruling, the federal court has stated loudly and clearly that a major part of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program is unconstitutional and that the time has come for the courts to order a halt to illegal stops," said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn. "If New York City has any sense, it will use this ruling as an opportunity to start a wholesale reform of stop and frisk."

New York City has consistently demonstrated that it has no sense, so the erstwhile wishes of the NYCLU are unlikely to come true any time soon. Only a multi-pronged approach of lawsuits, public pressure and resistance is likely to achieve the simple goal of upholding the 4th amendment. And that only until the NSA starts recording your brain waves.
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10:59 AM PT: From the NY Times:

The fact that a person was merely seen entering or leaving a building was not enough to permit the police to stop someone, “even if the building is located in a high-crime area, and regardless of the time of day,” the judge ruled. Nor was it enough for an officer to conduct a stop simply because the officer had observed the person move furtively, Judge Scheindlin said. (The forms that the police fill out after each street stop offer “furtive” movements as a basis for the stop).
New York Times

11:09 AM PT: More from NY Times, Judge's ruling

"...the public interest in liberty and dignity under the Fourth Amendment trumps whatever modicum of added safety might theoretically be gained from the N.Y.P.D.'s making unconstitutional trespass stops..."
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Originally posted to jpmassar on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Progressive Policy Zone, and Police Accountability Group.

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