Monthly Archives: August 2013

File Under “It’s About Time”: SDNY Judge Finds Unconstitutional NYPD’s “Stop & Frisk”

I’m on vacation, spending much of my time in places with no cell phone service and doing a lot of work with my hands. It’s been great. But I’m popping in to post about what has been a long time coming. Today, Judge Scheindlin handed down two opinions in the class action suit against the New York Police Department—she has ruled the NYPD’s policy of stopping and frisking people violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendmet because of the practice’s disparate impact on racial minorities.

I’ve previously expressed my dismay that the Stop & Frisk program was being carried and—and especially that it was being praised by city officials. You can find the two opinions Judge Scheindlin issued on the Southern District for New York’s webpage. They’re collectively quite long but nevertheless worth a read. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

I emphasize at the outset, as I have throughout the litigation, that this case is not about the effectiveness of stop and frisk in deterring or combating crime. This Court’s mandate is solely to judge the constitutionality of police behavior, not its effectiveness as a law enforcement tool. Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime — preventive detention or coerced confessions, for example — but because they are unconstitutional they cannot be used, no matter how effective. “The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

I love it! I will probably be sitting down in the next few days to write up a post about the continual revelations regarding NSA data collection/inspection and perhaps a post about encryption. Since I learned of the telephony metadata, PRISM, and attendant surveillance programs, I have made it a major hobby to get up to speed on everything related to encryption and I have some observations you might find worthwhile. Until the next post…

-Zachary Cloud