As Fatster noticed, the Ninth Circuit has ruled against Brandon Mayfield on his attempt to hold the PATRIOT Act declared unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.
Mayfield was a former suspect in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. After the Madrid bombings, the Spanish National Police (“SNP”) recovered fingerprints from a plastic bag containing explosive detonators. The SNP submitted digital photographs of the fingerprints to Interpol Madrid, which subsequently transmitted them to the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI searched fingerprints in its system and, among other possibilities, produced Mayfield, an US citizen and lawyer from the Portland Oregon area, as an alleged match. FBI surveillance agents began to watch Mayfield and follow him and members of his family when they traveled to and from the mosque, Mayfield’s law office, the children’s schools, and other family activities. The FBI also applied to the Foreign Intelligence Security Court (“FISC”) for authorization to surreptitiously place electronic listening devices in the Mayfield family home; searched the home while nobody was there; obtained private and protected information about the Mayfields from third parties; searched Mayfield’s law offices; and placed wiretaps on his office and home phones. The application for the FISC order was personally approved by John Ashcroft, then the Attorney General of the United States.
The Spanish SNP, however, looked at the FBI evidence and found it lacking evidentiary credibility. In spite of this fact, the FBI submitted an affidavit to a US Federal court, stating that experts considered the identification of Mayfield 100% positive, intentionally failing to advise that the SNP had reached a diametrically opposite conclusion. As a result, Mayfield was arrested and held on a material witness warrant, and the public informed of his identity and supposed involvement in the bombings. Over two weeks later, the SNP conclusively matched the fingerprint to an unrelated Algerian citizen and Mayfield was absolved. Mayfield sued the US Government under numerous theories including that the PATRIOT Act was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The government, being in an egregiously bad position, settled with Mayfield and even allowed the unusual provision that he could maintain the Fourth Amendment challenge to PATRIOT, but could only obtain declaratory relief, not monetary damages.
Mayfield pressed his complaint seeking a declaration that PATRIOT was unconstitutional under his stipulated facts, and the District Court of Oregon, in denying the government’s motion to dismiss and granting Mayfield’s motion for summary judgment, agreed with Mayfield and ruled in his favor. The government appealed to the 9th Circuit arguing that the trial court had no jurisdiction because Mayfield had already been compensated, that the court erred in finding PATRIOT unconstitutional and that other matters, in totality, placed the matter outside of the court’s power to award redress. These arguments were proffered by the government in spite of it having knowingly and specifically agreeing that Mayfield intended to raise and argue said issues and agreeing in their unusual settlement agreement to let him do so.
The usually enlightened 9th Circuit, this time took it upon itself to contrive and contort a way Read more