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A Low Threshold for Probable Cause

Natty Shafer Law

Two weeks ago the FBI arrested Paul Kevin Curtis for sending letters laced with ricin to President Obama and Senator Wicker of Mississippi, and it has been another week since the charges were dropped. Now the FBI has a second suspect in custody who may be responsible for sending the letters.

One lesson to be learned from the episode is the importance of letting the judicial process take its course and realizing that it is not just a cliche that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It is a central concept of our judicial system that until a person is convicted, they are still innocent under the law, and travesties will happen if we let mob mentality undermine that.

However, the episode also shows the depressingly low standard that it takes to arrest someone or for a judge to issue a search warrant. The Supreme Court has said that…

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