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FBI historian discusses Patriot Act evolution

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By Carol A. Clark

ALBUQUERQUE — As a young boy studying government in school, Stephan Marshall never imagined he would be dealing with the Fourth Amendment every day as an adult.

Now, as chief division counsel and historian of New Mexico’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marshall has no doubts about its relevance, he recently told a class of FBI Citizens’ Academy participants as he explained the evolution of the USA Patriot Act.

“The Fourth Amendment is the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” he said.

Marshall explained that the Fourth Amendment was designed as a response to the controversial writs of assistance or general search warrants, which were a significant factor behind the American Revolution. The amendment specifies that judicially sanctioned search and arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause.


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