Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Search and Seizure Under Chief Judge Wilson

Will his elevation lead New York to greater protections of privacy and freedom from government interference?

By Jordyn Conway
Jordyn Conway is a third year student at Albany Law School, where she is serving the community as Pro-Bono Scholar in her final semester.
Prior to attending law school, Jordyn was employed as a planning consultant addressing municipal and land-use issues in New York State. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the SUNY ESF at Syracuse University, and briefly studied environmental planning and policy at University College Dublin, Ireland.
In addition to her academic studies at the law school, Jordyn has served as the Co-Chair for the Women’s Leadership Initiative Fellowship, Director of Finance the Moot Court Program, Sub-Editor for the Government Law Review, Teaching Assistant for Professor Armstrong’s Torts course, and has interned for the New York State Supreme Court, 4th Judicial District. This summer she is working as Summer Associate for Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, LLC.

It is anticipated that Chief Judge Rowan Wilson’s tenure as the leader of the New York Court of Appeals will take the state’s highest court in a more liberal direction, especially in consideration of the rights of the accused. As demonstrated in Chief Judge Wilson’s opinions, and even more notably in his dissents, he has expressed his views on how New York law should be interpreted and applied in cases where the protection of privacy related to search and seizure is at issue.

Overall, Chief Judge Wilson’s decisions have revealed that he has a rather liberal stance on Fourth Amendment federal issues and Article 1, Section 12 issues under New York’s state constitution. In multiple cases, Chief Judge Wilson has dissented where he felt the majority was too lenient in approving searches and that the standards for seeking or implementing a warrant needed to be heightened. Additionally, his dissents have argued for greater protections stemming from the state constitution rather than defaulting to the minimum protections offered by the federal Constitution.

This paper explores Chief Judge Wilson’s dissents in search and seizure cases to provide a legal analysis with regard to his views and how he might approach such issues in the future as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. 
To read the paper, open HERE.