Friday, 23 July 2004

NLG to challenge MBTA searches

Press release today from the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter (reproduced here in full as not yet available on the NLG chapter Web site):

Michael Avery, NLG [National] President, 617-335-5023
Urszula Masny-Latos, Director, NLG Massachusetts Chapter, 617-227-7335


Boston — The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) will be filing suit on Monday, July 26, 2004, together with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and members of the American Friends Service Committee to enjoin the MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] bag search policy.

The challenge will be based on the fact that the policy violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by permitting searches of private possessions without any particular information that the person searched is suspected of criminal activity. The MBTA policy provides for routine searches of bags and packages, including physical and visual inspection of people’s possessions in addition to electronic inspections and dog sniffs.

NLG national president Michael Avery said, “There is no way the MBTA can implement this policy in a constitutional manner. This is an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy on a daily basis for “T” riders. There is simply no justification for creating security checkpoints that become part of the fabric of American society.”

[Addendum, 23 July 2004: The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald report today on the first checkpoints and “random” searches yesterday at T stations. “MBTA Police Chief Joseph Carter said no one refused to have bags swabbed for screening and, in fact, many riders wanted to volunteer.”]

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 23 July 2004, 12:16 (12:16 PM)
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