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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

George Orwell's 1984 predicts a society dominated by a totalitarian government. Chief Justice Earl Warren was primarily responsible for a jurisprudence that would not countenance the kind of society envisaged in 1984. This Commentary traces the significant criminal procedure decisions of the Warren Court that helped to ensure that Orwel's chilling prediction would remain only fiction. It first focuses on decisions that advanced fourth amendment privacy protections. It next examines the Warren Court's concern for protecting the rights of the criminal defendant and for curbing illegal and oppressive police conduct. The Commentary then notes that as modern methods of electronic surveillance develop, the potential for governmental intrusion on individual privacy rights increases. It concludes with a warning: if society moves toward the Orwellian state, Supreme Court decisions alone will not be enough to safeguard the individual from the trend.

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