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Federal Appeals Court To Hear NYCLU Subway Bag-Search Challenge

This Monday, May 1, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in the challenge that the New York Civil Liberties Union brought against the NYPD’s subway search program this August.

NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn will make the arguments. They will take place in Manhattan at 40 Foley Square, 17th Floor starting after 10.00am.

Under the program the NYCLU has challenged, NYPD officers are searching the personal possessions of people using the country’s largest subway system to determine whether a person is carrying an explosive device without any reason to suspect the person of wrongdoing. Search checkpoints are set up at only a tiny fraction of entrances to the system, only a fraction of those seeking to enter the system at those few entrances are selected for search, and those selected for search are allowed to walk away without police scrutiny. More than one million New Yorkers may have been searched to date.

In its challenge, the NYCLU contends that the NYPD’s unprecedented search program is not sufficiently effective to justify subjecting the millions of daily subway riders to suspicionless police searches. The NYCLU therefore has asked the courts to halt the program as violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In December of 2005, Judge Richard Berman upheld the program. The NYCLU appealed immediately, and the appeal is taking place on an expedited schedule.

More info

The NYCLU’s brief *
The City’s brief *
The NYCLU’s reply brief *

* These documents require the free Adobe Reader

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