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9th Annual Criminal Law Symposium: The 4th Amendment in the 21st Century

April 2015

Crim Symposium

Pictured [left to right]: Texas Tech Law Review editor in chief Matt McKee (’15), Texas Tech Law Review symposium editor Samantha Hock (’15), Texas Tech Law Review faculty advisor and Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Law Brian Shannon, Symposium keynote speaker Orin Kerr, George R. Killam, Jr. Chair of Criminal Law Professor Arnold Loewy, Vanderbilt Law Professor Chris Slobogin, and Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan (’81).

The Texas Tech Law Review recruited an all-star panel of criminal law experts for the 9th Annual Criminal Law Symposium on April 17. This year’s Symposium explored Fourth Amendment issues that arise in an increasingly-digitized society.

Keynote speaker Orin S. Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at George Washington University Law School, expanded upon some of the framework offered in his 2005 Harvard Law Review article, Searches and Seizures in a Digital World. Kerr, a former trial attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, is a prolific scholar who has been cited in more than 150 judicial opinions and nearly 2,000 academic works.

Kerr explored how the courts might apply Riley v. California, the landmark 2014 Supreme Court case expanding Fourth Amendment protection to cellphone data, to computers and other forms of digital storage. “Nowadays, there is a tremendous amount of information stored on digital devices that can be searched very invasively,” said Kerr. “There have to be search limitations, but what form do those take? One idea is to eliminate the plain view exception in exigent circumstances, but that’s not without its challenges,” said Kerr. For more, watch Kerr’s interview with Lubbock’s Fox 34.

The first panel continued on the topic of cell phone and computer searches and seizures. The panel included University of Texas Law Professor Jennifer Laurin (moderator); Fourth Amendment and cyber-crime expert Thomas K. Clancy; Catholic University Law Professor Mary G. Leary; University of Chicago Law Professor Richard McAdams; and University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Ohm.

The second panel discussed what the police force’s scope and limitation should be in tracking suspects. The panel included University of the District of Columbia Law Professor Andrew Ferguson (moderator); Elon University Law Professor Steven Friedland; University of Maryland Law Professor David Gray; University of Louisville Law Professor Russell L. Weaver; and Indiana Tech Law Professor and former United States Magistrate Judge Brian Owsley. Owsley was a Visiting Professor of Law at Texas Tech from 2013–2014.

The third and final panel addressed the government’s scope and limitation with DNA collection. The panel was comprised of University of Mississippi Law Professor Ronald J. Rychlak (moderator); Tulane Law Professor Catherine Hancock; Florida State Law Professor Wayne A. Logan; Boston University Law Professor Tracey Maclin; and Texas Tech’s Judge George R. Killam, Jr. Chair of Criminal Law Professor Arnold Loewy.

Participants also heard from Christopher Slobogin, director of Vanderbilt Law’s Criminal Justice Program and one of the five most cited criminal law and procedure law professors in the country, during a luncheon sponsored by LexisNexis.

Book 1, Volume 48 of the Texas Tech Law Review, available this fall, will include articles from Symposium participants. Click here to view the Symposium program with speaker bios and here to view the morning, luncheon, and afternoon sessions.


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