Search and seizure discussion

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Search and seizure laws naturally attract controversy, and finding the line between law enforcement and citizens’ rights is difficult.

To jump-start a conversation about these Fourth Amendment rights, a panel of experts is scheduled to have a roundtable discussion as part of the Dorothy L. Thompson lecture series.

The event is scheduled for tonight in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union at 7.

“There’s been a conflict between the legitimate need to get evidence and the right to be left alone. It’s very controversial,” said Michael Kaye, professor of law at the Washburn University School of Law.

Kaye is one of five panelists who will take part in the discussion. The other panelists include Barry Wilkerson, Riley County attorney; David Stutzman, judge for the Riley County District Court; Larry McRell, chief public defender from Junction City; and Allan Lytton, instructor at the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy.

The roundtable discussion will be set up in the style of a Fred Friendly seminar, a Socratic method seminar in which the panelists take different roles in a scenario to work through a particular issue.

These seminars were named after Fred Friendly, former president of CBS news and television pioneer. They are designed to put the panelists in real-life situations.

Kaye said the panelists were chosen because they are experts in their field, and will be able to contribute their ideas to the discussion.

He said the Fred Friendly method is a great tool for fostering a conversation.

“What it does is, you can’t come in there with all the answers ready,” Kaye said.

The panel will be put in situations involving search and seizure laws, including what rights citizens have when being stopped for traffic violations. Kaye said the panelists might also discuss the controversial Arizona law giving police officers the right to investigate a person’s immigration status.

“All students really should know these things,” Kaye said. “They don’t always know their rights, and college kids are a real target for law enforcement.”

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