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Constitutional Standards for Video Camera Surveillance

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Overview Edit

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has described video surveillance as "a potentially indiscriminate and most intrusive method of surveillance."[1] In that case the court adopted constitutional standards for such surveillance by borrowing from the statute permitting wiretapsTitle III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.[2]

Under those standards, a search warrant authorizing video surveillance must demonstrate not only probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be captured, but also should include: (1) a factual statement that alternative investigative methods have been tried and failed or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or would be too dangerous; (2) a particular description of the type of communication sought to be intercepted, and a statement of the particular offense to which it relates; (3) a statement of the duration of the order, which shall not be longer than is necessary to achieve the objective of the authorization nor, in any event, longer than 30 days, (though extensions are possible); and (4) a statement of the steps to be taken to assure that the surveillance will be minimized to effectuate only the purposes for which the order is issued.[3]

References Edit

  1. United States v. Cuevas–Sanchez, 821 F.2d 248, 250 (5th Cir. 1987) (full-text).
  2. Id., citing United States v. Biasucci, 786 F.2d 504 (2d Cir.) (full-text), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 827 (1986).
  3. Cuevas–Sanchez, 821 F.2d at 252.

Source Edit

  • In re Warrant to Search a Target Computer at Premises Unknown, 2013 WL 1729765 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 22, 2013).

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