Assault 1st and 4th

WOW! You may have already seen this at Jake’s but this bill is really over the top!

Two bills recently introduced by Gov. Bob McDonnell would permanently seal search warrants issued to use a tracking device to follow a suspect.

Such warrants would be unsealed only at the request of a prosecutor or defendant. Typically, most search warrants become public record 15 days or less after being granted by a judge.

The bills also stipulate that a newspaper reporter or Internet blogger who publishes the existence of a search warrant related to tracking devices could be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and could spend up to a year in jail.

Officials from the Virginia Press Association and Virginia Coalition for Open Government expressed alarm about HB 1298 and SB 685, saying that most search warrants should be public documents and that journalists should not be threatened with jail for doing their jobs.

Sorry Jackass, but freedom of the Press means if you’re a public servant or a public employee and the press finds out you’re doing something they can tell anybody they want!

If you live in Virginia, let your opinions be heard!

This entry was posted in Freedom, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Assault 1st and 4th

  1. Jake says:


    Something I just thought of: There’s a strong “foot in the door” aspect to this, too. Once they get the ability to keep one type of search warrant secret forever, what’s to stop them from trying to expand that to regular search warrants, too?

    When I first realized what these bills meant, it was a real “Holy $#it!” moment.

  2. Pingback: URGENT! Frightening bills to allow secret GPS tracking in Virgina! « Curses! Foiled Again!

  3. bluesun says:

    Does anyone else find it weird how so many gun laws are getting repealed/altered for the better, while it seems like everything else is going to pot?

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Well, if we have to hit the reset button, it won’t take as long.

      *snerk* in all seriousness, hopefully the armed populace will add some leverage for the athoritarians to be happy with what they gots, and minding their own bees wax and chasing REAL criminals might be a wise career move.

  4. Sailorcurt says:

    After reading the article, I think they’re concerns are valid. The problem is that the proposed solution is heavy-handed and flawed.

    Basically, under the typical search warrant procedures, the warrant becomes public after 15 days.

    In the event of a long-term investigation, they may be tracking someone for months. It’s not like a warrant that is served, a place is searched, and it’s over. If the target becomes aware of the tracking during that period, the entire investigation could be compromised.

    My question is: how do they handle phone tap warrants? The same situation exists for them as the tracking warrants. The existing procedures for those seem to work fine, so why not just put tracking warrants under the same procedures as phone tap warrants? Electronic Surveillance is electronic surveillance. Why do we need a special class of warrants for this type of electronic surveillance?

    Sealing any warrant completely sets a very bad precedent.

    “You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

    (the source of that quote is quite ironic, is it not?)

    • Jake says:

      Good analysis. There are times where there is a legitimate need for a warrant to be sealed.

      Essentially, the state should have to show some need to seal a warrant rather than it happening automatically, and it should never be sealed indefinitely.

    • Exactly the comment I was going to make.

      The state has a valid reason for sealing these warrants while they are in effect. However, that reason disapears once the surveilence is over. Sealing them indefinately is heavy-handed and un-needed.


    • RWC says:

      “Sealing any warrant completely sets a very bad precedent.”

      Pretty much sums up what I sent to Gov. McDonnell.

    • Robert says:

      Seems to me a fix would be pretty easy then: change it so that, in the case of tracking warrants, the warrant is unsealed 15 days after the police are finished with their tracking.

  5. Kristopher says:


    Their concerns are purest bullshit.

    Their real concern was a newspaper that published pictures of a tracking device some cops planted on a vehicle. This privacy bullshit is there to try to prevent this from happening again. They think they can abridge the first amendment by citing privacy. The only privacy they really want here is for the cops who are planting these devices.

    • Sailorcurt says:

      Well, if that was truly their concern, they screwed themselves, because there’s nothing in the bill preventing someone from disclosing the presence of a tracking device on a vehicle, only disclosing the existence or contents of the warrant.

      And the Senate amended their version to specifically limit the crime of disclosure to court and law enforcement officials, so if a journalist learned of it, their disclosure of the existence would not be a crime under the amended Senate version.

      This , however, does not alleviate my concerns. It’s still a bad bill because it seals the search warrant forever. There are even stipulations that the target of the search warrant can only have it unsealed “if it appears that the unsealing is consistent with the ends of justice and is necessary to reasonably inform such person of the nature of the evidence to be presented against him or to adequately prepare for his defense. ”

      In other words, all they have to do is convince the judge that the information is not necessary for the defense and they don’t even have to unseal the records for the ACCUSED.

      This is bad law, and it has nothing to do with people taking pictures of tracking devices on cars.

  6. Jake says:

    Update: The Senate version has passed, unanimously. It now has to go to the House for approval. The House version looks to be on the verge of passing, but they have adjourned for the day.

    Looks like we’re buggered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *