You are viewing an old blog post! That means that links will be broken, and images may be missing.

September 6, 2013

Will Border Guards Seize Your Laptop?

Can border guards seize your laptop and conduct a forensic examination of its contents with only reasonable suspicion?

Please help us ask the Supreme Court to review a terrible decision made by the 9th Circuit Court. Here's what happened

  • Border guards seized an American citizen's computer when he re-crossed the border from Mexico
  • They did this because the man had an old criminal record, NOT because there was evidence of a new crime
  • This was clearly an illegal search without a warrant
  • He was arrested and convicted on the basis of forensically-uncovered, deleted files. Nevertheless
  • The 9th Circuit upheld this seizure as a legal search

This decision combines with other recent events to erode the 4th Amendment close to a vanishing point. We want to reverse this trend!

Please understand

  • The 9th Circuit ruling we want to challenge is now the law for much of the Mexican border states, and a possible precedent for the rest of country
  • Anything in your background that a border guard could regard with suspicion could lead to a property seizure
  • You could be entrapped or prosecuted for evidence that merely passed through your computer
  • This could then lead to a prosecution if even flimsy evidence of a statute violation is found

Is this how you want to live? If not, please help us file an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to review this decision. You can contribute using the secure online form at the Downsize DC Foundation.

Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible if you itemize.

The six largest donors to this project will receive a hard-copy of the brief we file. Pledges are rated for their twelve month value.

Thanks in advance if you can help fund this petition to the Supreme Court,

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation

P.S. A brief you funded, in the Antoine Jones case, led to the biggest Court victory we've ever had — the reintroduction of a property rights basis for the Fourth Amendment.

As technology and customs have changed, the privacy right has narrowed. Previous to 1968, the property rationale increased your security from general searches — even enhanced privacy.

We want to build on our success in the Jones case, but we need your help to do it.

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at


Post a Comment

Notice: Undefined variable: user_ID in /var/www/ on line 89

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

© 2008–2019