Property and Privacy Rights

Property and Privacy Rights are a category that deserves a subsite of its own. In recent decades there has been a steady erosion of such rights, despite a few gains, which trend toward the reduction of estates in land into tenancies at will, seizure and forfeiture of property without conviction of a crime, and intrusion into private spaces.

Organizations and Activists



Administrative and Trial Level

Federal Appeal Courts

  • Freeman v. Dallas, 97-10907, 5th Cir. — After winning damages against City of Dallas in trial for demolition of a building deemed a nuisance, on appeal it was decided that search warrant not needed, but reasonableness of of the action leaves open an appeal to the Supreme Court under the takings clause.

U.S. Supreme Court

  • Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967) — Building inspector must obtain warrant to inspect building if owner does not consent to it.
  • Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991) — State officers may be held personally liable for damages based upon actions taken in their official capacities.
  • Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U.S. 56 (1992) — State or local officials who stand by or protect an unlawful eviction or seizure are liable for damages under 42 USC 1983.
  • Bennis v. Michigan, 517 U.S. 1163 (1996) — Property used in a crime may be forfeited even though partly or wholly owned by an innocent third party.
  • Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, Docket 99-2047 (Decided Jun. 28, 2001) — A state land-use regulation may present standing to a subsequent owner for compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
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Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 1995/9/25 — 

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