1. Home
  2. /
  3. Politics
  4. /
  5. Slideshow
  6. /
  7. Federal Court Rules FBI’s...

Federal Court Rules FBI’s Safe Deposit Box Raids Unconstitutional

In a landmark decision on January 23, a federal appeals court declared the FBI’s seizure of contents from safe deposit boxes during a 2021 raid on a Beverly Hills vault unconstitutional. This raid targeted U.S. Private Vaults, a business offering anonymous safe deposit box rentals.

Original Search Warrant

Credit: DepositPhotos

The search warrant for the operation specified that agents were only to inventory the box contents to identify owners for the return of their property. However, the execution of the raid went beyond these limitations.

Exceeding Boundaries

Credit: DepositPhotos

Agents used drug-sniffing dogs and intended to seize cash over $5,000, a plan not outlined in the original warrant. This led to the search of about 700 safe deposit boxes, far exceeding the warrant’s original scope.

Read More: These “Trump” Stocks Could Take Off if He’s Re-elected

Renters’ Response

Credits: DepositPhotos

Following the raid, box renters who requested their belongings back were denied by the FBI. This refusal, based on plans for forfeiture or government ownership transfer, led to a lawsuit by the renters.

Initial Judicial Ruling

Credit: DepositPhotos

A U.S. district judge initially ruled in favor of the government, citing an “inventory exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. This exception was the cornerstone of the government’s defense.

Appeals Court Disagreement

Credit: DepositPhotos

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, however, disagreed with this interpretation. They found that the raid did not align with the requirements of the inventory exception.

Also Read: House Freedom Caucus Ousts Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Amid Controversy

Importance of Standardized Instructions

Credit: DepositPhotos

Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. emphasized that standardized instructions are crucial in searches. He noted the FBI’s use of customized instructions in the raid, which deviated from standard policy.

Historical Echoes

Credit: DepositPhotos

During oral arguments, parallels were drawn between the raid and the “writs of assistance” used by British authorities in pre-revolutionary America. These historical searches were a catalyst for the Fourth Amendment.

Probable Cause Concerns

Credit: DepositPhotos

Judge Smith highlighted the lack of probable cause for searching all boxes. He questioned how this action differed from the overreaches that the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent.

Read More: Kim Jong Un’s New Enemy No.1 Is Not The U.S.

Government’s Justification

Credit: DepositPhotos

In defense, a government lawyer described the raid as a response to “rampant illegal conduct.” They referenced U.S. Private Vaults’ plea agreement, which admitted to recruiting criminals and money laundering.

Judicial Warning

Credits: DepositPhotos

Judge Smith expressed concerns about the lack of limitations in such ‘inventory searches.’ He stressed the need for clear boundaries in government actions.

Ruling’s Consequences

Credits: DepositPhotos

The ruling remanded the case back to Judge Robert Klausner with instructions for the FBI to destroy records collected on the box renters. This was seen as a significant step to ensure privacy rights.

Also Read: Rep. Stefanik Files Complaint Against Judge After Dismissal of Trump Gag Order Appeal

Plaintiffs’ Advocacy

Credits: DepositPhotos

Rob Johnson and Jennifer Snitko, representing the plaintiffs, celebrated the ruling. They saw it as a vital safeguard against governmental overreach and protection of privacy rights.

FBI and Government Compliance

The FBI has remained silent on the matter, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles expressed readiness to comply with the ruling. This included destroying records related to the inventory search.

Judicial Opinions and Privacy Implications

Credit: DepositPhotos

Judges involved in the ruling, appointed by Presidents Bush and Trump, concurred on the constitutional violation. Judge Smith’s separate opinion highlighted the need to limit the inventory search doctrine, emphasizing the privacy interest in safe deposit boxes.

Read Next: NATO Warns of Possible ‘All-Out War’ with Russia: Citizens Advised to Be Ready

More from The Stock Dork  – New Pew Research Center Report Debunks GOP Immigration Myths

Credit: DepositPhotos

New Pew Research Center Report Debunks GOP Immigration Myths

More from The Stock Dork – Biden stares blankly at press, exits room during meeting with NATO Secretary General

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Biden stares blankly at press, exits room during meeting with NATO Secretary General

More from The Stock Dork – These Celebrities All Proudly Support Trump – Some on This List May Come as a Surprise!

Credit: DepositPhotos

These Celebrities All Proudly Support Trump – Some on This List May Come as a Surprise!

More from The Stock Dork – Increase in U.S. Prison Population Signals a Shift in Decade-Long Trend

Credit: DepositPhotos

Increase in U.S. Prison Population Signals a Shift in Decade-Long Trend

More from The Stock Dork – Trump Unveils Bold Policy Goals for Potential Second Term

Credits: DepositPhotos

Trump Unveils Bold Policy Goals for Potential Second Term