Articles

Explaining the Fourth Amendment : What counts as persons, houses, papers, and effects?

May 08, 2024 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

This series will focus on what “persons,” “houses,” “papers,” and “effects” mean, tackling each in turn, and examining how they stack up against the increasingly sophisticated ways that cities, bureaucrats, police officers, and even municipal code inspectors investigate Americans in the 21st century. ...

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Judge denies qualified immunity to officers who took children from family home without a court order

March 20, 2024 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

Last week, a judge ruled that parents Josh Sabey and Sarah Perkins’ lawsuit could move forward against government officials who stole their children from their home without a court order in the middle of the night. The basis for this action? A single x-ray of their sick infant showed an old, healing rib injury. Without … ...

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A biased court destroyed families in colonial Salem

December 15, 2023 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

This article first appeared in the winter 2023 edition of Sword&Scales. Imagine you are a young child living in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. You are brought into a crowded meetinghouse where two magistrates—both commanding older men who serve on the council of Massachusetts Bay Colony—are waiting to interrogate you in front of an angry au ...

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The ghosts of Salem : Shadows of injustice in modern administrative agency hearings

October 25, 2023 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

The Salem Witch Trials stand as a chilling reminder of the dark corners of humanity’s pursuit of justice. In the heart of that 17th-century hysteria, the Court of Oyer and Terminer became infamous for accusing and convicting “witches” based on flimsy evidence, hearsay, and an inverted burden of proof. Shockingly, echoes of these p ...

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The Hill : Massage licensing law violates the Fourth Amendment

April 11, 2022 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

In Billings, Mont., a new law forces massage therapists, including those working from home, to open the door for government agents to search their properties and patient-treatment logs on demand. Insisting that the police or code enforcement return with a warrant, as the Constitution requires, can be grounds for arrest, prosecution and jail time. S ...

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Digital nomads beware — living in Airbnbs can mean waiving your Fourth Amendment rights

February 28, 2022 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is a billionaire without a home: Chesky is one of many white-collar workers who decided to become “digital nomads” during the pandemic, living and working full-time in a series of short-term rentals in different cities. The growing trend has been a boon for Airbnb, which enjoyed its best year yet in … ...

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Daily Journal : California law gives people the right to build ADUs. Cities need to let them. 

September 17, 2021 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

Decades of underbuilding, largely due to red tape imposed by prohibitive land use laws, has pushed California into a housing crisis. Apartments and homes have never been more expensive. That’s why state lawmakers passed laws giving Californians the right to build accessory dwelling units — also known as in-law suites or granny flats. ADUs o ...

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ADU reform : what good is a law if it’s not enforced?

September 14, 2021 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

The California legislature has passed revolutionary legislation in the past few years that makes it easier for residents to build additional housing in the form of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), more recognizable to some as granny flats, basement apartments, or small backyard cottages. These new reforms, which remove costly and complicated barrie ...

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Federal tire-chalking case to answer big constitutional questions

August 12, 2021 | By DANIEL WOISLAW

When attorneys Phil Ellison and Matt Gronda saw a meter maid chalking someone’s car tire outside the courthouse in Saginaw, Michigan, they decided to make a federal case of it. After all, a car is private property, they reasoned, and leaving a chalk-line behind on it to find out if it moves is a “search.” … ...