I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Brandon Mayfield VS the Patriot Act - 2007

The details of the Brandon Mayfield arrest can be found in this July, 2005 post;
Brandon Mayfield VS The Patriot Act
Here is a brief summary. In May of 2004 Brandon Mayfield, a Portland Lawyer, was arrested on suspicion of being involved with the terrorist bombing in Spain based on a faulty fingerprint analysis by the FBI. His house was broken into and computers and documents were taken by the FBI based on provisions of the Patriot Act. Mayfield was also held without charge for over two weeks. Mayfield had another problem - he was Muslim. He was eventually released, the FBI apologized and gave him a Two million dollar settlement. Mayfield went to court to challenge the Patriot Act. A little more than two years later:
Judge rules in favor of Mayfield challenge
A federal judge in Portland declared a portion of the USA Patriot Act unconstitutional Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Patriot Act violated the constitutional ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

The decision is a victory for Brandon Mayfield, a Beaverton lawyer mistakenly linked to the 2004 Madrid train bombings because the FBI botched a botched fingerprint match.

Although Mayfield settled with the government for $2 million, he continued to pursue his claim that the portion of the Patriot Act that allowed federal agents to obtain a secret warrant violated the constitution.

Aiken ruled that the Patriot Act, which lowered the burden for obtaining a warrant, upset the balance of power by giving the executive branch too much power.

Before Congress adopted the Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Aike wrote, "the three branches of government operated with thoughtful and deliberate checks and balances - a principle upon which our Nation was founded.

These constitutional checks and balances effectively curtail overzealous executive, legislative, or judicial activity regardless of the catalyst for overzealousness. The Constitution contains bedrock principles that the framers believed essential. Those principles should not be easily altered by the expediencies of the moment."

Read the ruling here.
Of course the Bush justice department will appeal so this is just the beginning.

More here:
Patriot Act Provisions Voided
Judge Rules Law Gives Executive Branch Too Much Power

A federal judge in Oregon ruled yesterday that two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional, marking the second time in as many weeks that the anti-terrorism law has come under attack in the courts.

In a case brought by a Portland man who was wrongly detained as a terrorism suspect in 2004, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Patriot Act violates the Constitution because it "permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment."

"For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law -- with unparalleled success," Aiken wrote in a strongly worded 44-page opinion. "A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised."

The ruling in Oregon follows a separate finding on Sept. 6 by a federal judge in New York, who struck down provisions allowing the FBI to obtain e-mail and telephone data from private companies without a court-issued warrant. The decision also comes amid renewed congressional debate over the government's broad powers to conduct searches and surveillance in counterterrorism cases. Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said last night that the administration "will consider all our options" in responding to yesterday's ruling.


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Brandon Mayfield is a liberal ass! While humans make mistakes, the Patriot Act is for the protection of all Americans. Allowing those who threaten our way of life have just been given a free pass, at the expense of all law abiding citizens. Freedom is not free as we know and we all must make some sacrifices in today’s world to continue to live as safe as possible in America. Taking away the right of our government to protect us, will come back to haunt us all. Thank Brandon Mayfield the next time some group kills innocent Americans!

  2. Anonymous8:44 AM

    No, I'll thank people like you the next time and the next time and the next time the stormtroopers kick in our doors from a "mistake." Americans don't give up their liberties and do not trade away the constitution to be "safe" because giving up our freedoms make us vulnerable to police state tactics. You should be ashamed of bashing Mayfield. This situation is no longer about being liberal or conservative, it is about believing in the Inviolability of the U.S. Constitution, which will save even people like you.

  3. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Wow, another judge who has the nerve to uphold the constitution and the seperation of the three branches of government! Who knew that the patriotic right wing nazi's would run into so many "Godless liberals!" :) Ha! I love it!! And what did a founding father say about this subject?
    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both" ~Franklin

  4. Anonymous11:27 PM

    Come to Arizona and see how the AZ Constitution, mixed with the USA Patriot Act, steps all over basic liberties of citizens, civil rights of citizens, AND personal privacy rights of citizens.

    Thank you for the precedent case.


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