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Federal Judge Rules Provision Of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
By Kristian Foden-Vencil
Portland, OR September 26, 2007 5:04 p.m.
A federal judge in Oregon ruled Wednesday that a key provision of the USA Patriot Act is unconstitutional. Judge Ann Aiken found that it allows search warrants to be issued without probable cause. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.
Police arrested Portland attorney, Brandon Mayfield, in 2004 after one of his fingerprints was mistakenly linked to the Madrid train bombings.
The FBI released him after two weeks and apologized. But Mayfield challenged the provision in the Patriot Act that made it easy for the FBI to define him as an "agent of a foreign power" and search his home without probable cause.
His attorney, Elden Rosenthal, says this new ruling protects bedrock law.
Elden Rosenthal: "The right of every American to know that the FBI and the Justice Department cannot sneak into your home or office, copy your computer files, photograph your home and your personal documents, unless there is probable cause that a crime has been committed, that right is fundamental to what we understand America is all about."
The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling.