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Ex-Grateful Dead lyricist loses fight to bar TSA drug searches

[JURIST] California Superior Court Judge Harry Papadakis ruled Wednesday that the Transportation Security Administration did not violate the Fourth Amendment when it searched the checked luggage of John Perry Barlow, onetime Grateful Dead lyricist and current cyber-rights activist, and had him arrested for drug possession. Barlow's attorney had argued that while TSA searches may look for threats to airline security, they may not legitimately be used to effect unrelated federal policies such as drug laws. The defense was able to elicit testimony from airport police about collaboration between the TSA and the Drug Enforcement Agency to act on drug tips, but two TSA attorneys successfully lobbied the judge not to allow defense questions on the federal agency's operations because such information could "make it easier for terrorists." Barlow, a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, now faces five misdemeanor drug possession counts. San Jose Mercury News has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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