A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Oregon lawyer falsely accused in Madrid bombings challenges Patriot Act

[JURIST] Brandon Mayfield [JURIST news archive], the Oregon attorney arrested [JURIST report] and detained for two weeks in May 2004 after the FBI mistakenly concluded that his fingerprints matched [JURIST report] those found on a bag containing detonators used in the 2004 Madrid train bombings [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] argued Monday that provisions of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive] allowed investigators to search his home and office in violation of the Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure clause [text]. Appearing in the US District Court for the District of Oregon [official website], Mayfield said that he was unfairly targeted by the FBI because he converted to Islam and that the government continues to violate his Fourth Amendment rights by retaining copies of his family's personal records.

Lawyers for the Justice Department argued that Mayfield's Patriot Act challenge could not continue after the the US government agreed to pay $2 million in November in a settlement agreement [PDF text; JURIST report], and that the government's retention of Mayfield's family records would not harm the family. Mayfield had originally alleged that the FBI orchestrated his arrest because of his religious beliefs as a Muslim, though a 2006 DOJ Inspector General report [text] refuted those claims [press release]. After an investigation into his arrest and detention, the Inspector General [official website] cleared FBI agents involved in the incident of any wrongdoing and made several suggestions for improvement to the fingerprint identification process that have been implemented by the DOJ. The US also formally apologized [PDF text] to Mayfield per the agreement. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.