Litigation Working Group

“Come back with a warrant”

The RT4 Litigation Working Group is a volunteer group of attorneys, law professors, and law students, chaired by Mahesha P. Subbaraman, Esq. of Subbaraman LLC in Minneapolis, MN. We select key Fourth Amendment appellate cases and submit amicus briefs on behalf of Restore The Fourth. We specialize in historically oriented and originalist briefs, using colonial-era and pre-Civil War precedents to argue for expansive contemporary Fourth Amendment protections.

In 2023-4 so far, Restore The Fourth has written a cert.-stage brief in Culley v. Marshall (see below); a brief in Minnesota v. Torgerson (an allegation of mere cannabis odor, does not establish probable cause to search a stopped vehicle); in McDonnell v. Maryland (Founding-era common law holds government copying of papers to be a constructive trespass); and in Verdun v. San Diego (tire chalking is a search).

In 2021-22, Restore The Fourth filed friend-of-the-court briefs in US v. Rosenow (government-compelled digital preservation is a trespass); in Culley v. Marshall (due process entitles owners of forfeited vehicles to a continued-detention hearing); in Leuthauser v. US (TSA officers are “law enforcement officers” within the meaning of FTCA); in Forbes Media v. US (the FBI should not rely on the All Writs Act to authorize surveillance, and if it does, the courts should be transparent about the records of it); in Miller v. US (the “private search” doctrine does not provide protections for correspondence analogous to those available in the Founding era); and in Caniglia v. Strom (the “community caretaking” warrant exception should not extend to the home). We wrote a cert.-stage brief in Nichols v. Wayne County (see below). We joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a brief in Brown v. Polk County (probable cause should be required for cavity searches of people in pretrial detention). In the course of these briefs, we also partnered with Freedom to Travel, the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability, the Rutherford Institute, and the Pacific Legal Foundation.

In 2019-20, Restore The Fourth filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Lange v. California (the Fourth Amendment does not allow an officer to pursue a suspect into their home for a suspected misdemeanor), Nichols v. Wayne County (asset owners in forfeiture proceedings must have a meaningful opportunity to challenge the continued detention of their asset); Lombardo v. St Louis (qualified immunity should not apply in a case where police crushed the breath out of a Black man in custody); Mitchell v. Wisconsin (state “implied-consent” statutes impermissibly override the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for real consent); Jessop v. Fresno (qualified immunity should not apply in cases of police theft); Torres v. Madrid (an attempted arrest counts as an arrest for liability purposes); and Bovat v. Vermont (evidence discovered without a warrant when an observing officer was within curtilage of a property, is inadmissible).

In 2017-18, Restore The Fourth filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Byrd (drivers of rental cars still enjoy Fourth Amendment protection)Carpenter (warrant should apply for historical cell site location information), Collins (automobile exception should not apply on private property)Hernandez (qualified immunity should not apply in case of shooting of Mexican national by CBP agent from across the border), Microsoft Ireland (warrants should not apply extraterritorially), Spivey (police deception invalidates consent to a search), Pellegrino (TSA officers are “law enforcement officers” for purposes of liability) and LMP Services (municipalities cannot condition food truck licensing on installation of a GPS tracker). 

In 2015-16, Restore The Fourth filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Ganias (a warrant to search a computer should not cover a later search) and Rodriguez (qualified immunity should not apply in case of shooting of Mexican national by CBP agent from across the border).

We do not yet represent individuals in Fourth Amendment cases.

To volunteer for the Litigation Working Group, go here.

To submit a case for consideration by the Litigation Working Group, please use this contact form.