Article XIV

The Massachusetts state constitution contains stronger and older protections against surveillance than the federal constitution does. Here is the language of Article Fourteen:

Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures, of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities prescribed by the laws.

2 Thoughts on “Article XIV

  1. tommy glen on November 11, 2014 at 2:29 am said:

    wait….EVERY SUBJECT??????????

    • Alex Marthews on November 11, 2014 at 10:36 pm said:

      Yes. Article XIV predates the US constitution, and was constructed under certain British assumptions of law, among which were that Massachusetts residents were subjects rather than citizens. The best translation into modern legal language, however, would be “resident”, because “subject” did not exclude what we would term noncitizens.

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