Book Review: Manufacturing Criminals: 4th Amendment Decay in the Electronic Age

Manufacturing Criminals: Fourth Amendment Decay in the Electronic Age by Bonnie Burkhardt is about how law enforcement, prosecutors and task forces are violating the 4th amendment, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The violations involve sex offenses where people are viewing, sharing, chatting with and possibly meeting up with someone. 

Ms. Burkhardt is a software engineer with a M.S. in computer science and engineering. She worked for the Department of Defense over 35 years and she was trained by the federal government on interception and privacy laws in the electronic age. Ms. Burkhardt lives in Virginia, and most of the cases and laws written about are from there, but these events are happening in every state in our country. Law enforcement and prosecutors are violating the 4th amendment in numerous ways. The author is uniquely qualified, because of her training, to have knowledge of what these violations are. She has filed two amicus briefs with the Appellate Court of Virginia. This book was written to help educate the public on how our rights are being eroded. Ms. Burkhardt also touches on the eighth Amendment, “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” and gives examples of how this amendment is being violated in relation to people accused of sex offenses. 

 I thought the book was laid out well and full of useful information. The cases in the book made me sad and angry but, I’m glad someone is bringing these issues to light. I hope this book is able to achieve its purpose, to inform, educate and sway public opinion.

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