Back to All Court Cases

MacWade v. Kelly (Challenging the NYPD’s subway bag-search program)

This case involves the NYPD’s practice of stopping and searching subway goers without just cause. On July 21, 2005, the NYPD announced that it would begin a new program of searching the belongings of those seeking to enter the subway system. Since the program was implemented, the NYPD has searched tens of thousands of people without any suspicion of wrongdoing. On Aug. 4, 2005, the NYCLU filed a complaint in the District Court on behalf of five individuals. The complaint alleges that the NYPD program violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and asks the Court to issue a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction against further enforcement of the policy.

On Dec. 7, 2005, the District Court ruled in favor of the defendants and refused the plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction. The decision stated that the random subway search program was not “impermissibly intrusive” and was constitutional. The NYCLU appealed to the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. On Aug. 11, 2006, the Second Circuit upheld the District Court decision, stating that the program constitutes the “special need” exception to the Fourth Amendment. In December 2006, the Second Circuit denied the NYCLU’s motion for rehearing en banc. 

S.D.N.Y, Index No. 05-cv-6921, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Index No. 05-6757-cv (direct) 

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union