Should it be legal for law enforcement to cut your Internet, electricity, or water, then show up at your door posing as repairmen in order to gain access to your home? A recent FBI sting operation may serve as a test case that answers that question.
Agents suspected some high rollers staying at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas of illegal sports betting (the horror!). The feds didn't have enough evidence to obtain a warrant, so they got creative: They cut the suite's Internet, then showed up posing as repairmen.
Once they gained access to the suite, they sneakily collected enough evidence to persuade a judge to issue a warrant. They then returned to the suite and arrested eight men for allegedly running an illegal gambling operation.
Defense attorney Tom Goldstein argues the evidence was obtained illegally, claiming the federal agents failed to mention their "cable guy" shenanigans when they approached a federal magistrate judge seeking a warrant.
The federal case is working its way through the courts and the outcome may allow law enforcement to go further than ever before in using trickery to enter private homes.
"The theory behind this search is scary," says George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg. "It means the government can cut off your service, intentionally, and then pretend to be a repair person, and then while they're there, they spend extra time searching your house. It is scary beyond belief."
In other news, the FBI's most wanted list indicates that plenty of suspected violent criminals, including a man wanted for the murder of his mother, wife, and three children, are still at large.
2 minutes, 14 seconds.
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"Don't Cops Have Better Things to Do?" is written and directed by Ted Balaker (@tedbalaker). Produced and edited by Matt Edwards (@MattChrisEd). Music by audionautix.com and "The Contessa" is by Maurice and the Beejays (Magnatune Records).
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