The Quiet Man and Civil Rights


The government property code inspector prosecuted a citizen for refusing to consent to a warrantless inspection of the interior of his house. The code enforcement officer claimed that he wanted to "inspect" the interior of the house. There is no difference between an inspection and a search for purposes of constitutional law. The government may not prosecute a citizen for exercising his right to decline to consent to a warrantless search or inspection of his house. See Fourth (4th) and Eighth (8th) Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1 Section 12 of the New York State Constitution. A prosecution for the lawful exercise of a constitutional right is actionable as a violation of one's civil rights under New York State and federal law. See 42 USC sections 1983, 1985; New York Civil Rights Law sections 8 & 11. If the citizen prevails on a federal constitutional claim he may recover his reasonable attorney's fees from the government as well. 42 USC 1988.

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Michael Burger
Santiago Burger Annechino LLP

Michael A. Burger is an attorney and a partner in the law firm of Santiago Burger Annechino LLP. ... View Profile »

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