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The Fourth Amendment$
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William J. Cuddihy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367195.001.0001

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ContentsFRONT MATTER

Paxton’s Case and the Writs of Assistance Controversy in Massachusetts, 1755–1762

Chapter:
(p.377) Chapter 17 Paxton’s Case and the Writs of Assistance Controversy in Massachusetts, 1755–1762
Source:
The Fourth Amendment
Author(s):

William J. Cuddihy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367195.003.0017

This chapter discusses Paxton's Case and its implications for the specific warrant. The case was a milestone not only in civil libertarian thought, but in the political history of Massachusetts. On one level, Massachusetts lawyer James Otis had taken the British ideology of search and seizure beyond condemnation of general warrants to an appreciation of specific ones as their replacements. On another level, he had selectively fashioned law, history, and legal fiction into one of the weapons that an insurgent alliance of merchants and politicos aimed at the existing political order.

Keywords:   merchants, customs officers, specific warrant

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