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

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

William J. Cuddihy

Oxford University Press

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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