ERIC Number: ED203328
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Newsroom Searches: The Probable Cause Dilemma.
As a means of providing additional search warrant protection for the news media and others engaged in public communications, the United States Congress adopted the "Privacy Protection Act of 1980." Legal and documentary research conducted over a period of two years has revealed a potential defect of the statute relating to the court system's loose interpretation of "probable cause," as stipulated in the warrant clause of the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant exists where circumstances, as reported in an underlying affidavit, would cause a reasonably prudent person to believe that the property to be searched is likely to contain the items sought in connection with the related criminal act. However, an affidavit for a search warrant need not prove guilt in order to establish probable cause. The legal analysis of the "Zurcher v. Stanford Daily" ruling of the Supreme Court suggests that the legal effectiveness of the "Privacy Protection Act of 1980" may be impeded by a magistrate's broad, case-by-case interpretation of probable cause. Probable cause is an element that should be more definitively addressed in federal statutes aimed at providing additional search warrant protection. (HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Privacy Protection Act 1980; Probable Cause; Search Warrants
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (64th, East Lansing, MI, August 8-11, 1981).