There has been an interesting case of an American Muslim woman who had her phone seized by border guards as she returned home to the United States from a trip to Switzerland. The guards just seized her phone and she had to file a lawsuit to get it returned after 120 days. Meanwhile, they refuse to confirm or deny that a copy of her phone was made and shared with any other agency. This is part of the problem with the rule of law – there is none! Government agents can do whatever they desire and it is always your burden to hopefully find a judge who will at least acknowledge you have any rights at all.
Most people will think of various crimes by the British that led to the American Revolution. Then there was the No Taxation Without Representation slogan. But the act that perhaps began the Revolution was illegal search and seizure.
The legal case that became the seminal beginning of the American Revolution was Entick v. Carrington and Three Other King’s Messengers, reported at length in 19 Howell’s State Trials 1029. This case was the start of the American Revolution and was also based upon an abuse of the king’s agents. The action, dated November 1762, was for trespassing and interfering with the plaintiff’s dwelling by breaking open his desks and boxes and searching and examining his papers.
George III (b 1738; 1760-1820) became king in 1760. In February 1761, Parliament enacted the Writs of Assistance that was challenged in court in Boston, Massachusetts. These were writs that empowered, are no different today when agents can act at their discretion. The Writs of Assistance allowed the king’s agents to search anything they suspected. The defending lawyer James Otis (1725-1783) pronounced these writs were “the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty, and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law book.” Otis warned that the king placed discretion in the hands of every agent to act as he desired. Nothing has changed for the government can do whatever it desires today and it is always the burden of the citizen to prove he has any rights whatsoever.