Judge upholds search of Congressman Jefferson's office

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/07/10/jefferson.ruling.ap/index.html

The U.S. district judge’s ruling (a link to which you can find in this CNN.com article) was well-reasoned and persuasive, IMHO.

What say you?

If the warrant is based on probable cause, names the articles being serched for and meets the other requirements I don’t see why it shouldn’t be valid. The sudden Congressional fit of righteousness over the search was disgusting.

This matter was hashed out in a couple threads when the story first broke. I’d say the majority of posters were baffled by the congressional response. Some of us went further to speculate a few other congressmen might be worried about the separation of powers issue for less than honorable reasons.

I say Jefferson had better be making good progress on his resignation speech.

I wonder if the opinion might have been well reasoned and persuasive in the other direction if it had been a federal judges chambers that were searched.

Tris

Given the ethical fiber of our current crop of congresscritters, I highly doubt such dubious arguments would be made by the Federal judiciary, who, after all, are never up for reelection.

I understand your cynicism (if I’m interpreting it correctly), but yes, I think it would have been. The Federal judiciary is overall, IMHO, of considerable integrity and recognizes pretty well its own place in the constitutional hierarchy. If a Federal judge found himself under investigation (Exhibit A: Alcee Hastings, later impeached, convicted and then - oddly enough - elected to the U.S. House of Representatives), another judge could and would approve a properly-presented search warrant for his chambers, home or car.

I agree. It’s possible a representative of the court would have been on hand during the search to insure that sensitive and confidential information not related to the investigation wasn’t improperly disclosed.

Here’s a link to the actual opinion:

http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/cnn/docs/cngrss/jeffersonsearch71006opn.pdf

Really no suprise here. I never thought Jefferson had much of an argument. The opinion goes into exhaustive detail regarding the reasons for rejecting a very weak case. Not sure why Congress was willing to make such a big deal about this search. To buy into the argument presented would be to establish any congressional office as a safe deposit box for evidence of any crime ever committed, and that would be absurd.

Quite so. Well put.

The legislative and executive branches rarely are willing to acknowledge that one branch has authority over the other even in specific circumstances like this. Plus, many Congressmen have cause to worry about similar seaches being performed on them. They could have picked a better situation than this one, though, considering the PR disaster that it was. There are legitmate restraints placed on the executive branch wrt policing the legislative branch, but this case didn’t seem to invloved any of those restraints.

I very much doubt it would have gone in the other direction. Judges see these things rather differently than politicians do. A federal judge, if not totally corrupt himself, would be strongly disinclined to protect a possibly corrupt judge just out of professional fellow-feeling.

And why would a corrupt judge keep incriminating evidence in his office anyway? They all start out as lawyers, they’re very sharp about such things.