University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Nicholson NS-VA-0001
Docket / Court 1:96-cr-00448 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Case Summary
On November 5, 1996, the U.S. charged the defendant with espionage, attempted espionage, and conspiracy to commit espionage, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 794. The U.S., represented by the U.S. Attorney's Office, filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On ... read more >
On November 5, 1996, the U.S. charged the defendant with espionage, attempted espionage, and conspiracy to commit espionage, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 794. The U.S., represented by the U.S. Attorney's Office, filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On November 18, 1996, the defendant was arrested.

The defendant moved for recusal of judge. On February 3, 1997, Judge James C. Cacheris denied the defendant's motion and held that: (1) recusal was not required on basis that judge had issued Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders; (2) recusal was not required on basis that judge received ex parte information during FISA proceedings; and (3) recusal was not required even though defendant planned to challenge constitutionality of FISA court's authority to order physical searches without conventional warrants. United States v. Nicholson, 955 F. Supp. 582 (E.D. Va. 1997).

The defendant moved to suppress evidence derived from searches or seizures conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In the course of the investigation that led to Defendant's arrest and indictment, Defendant's home, office, car, safe deposit box, and personal effects were subject to electronic surveillance and physical searches conducted under FISA, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801 et seq.

On February 14, 1997, Judge Cacheris denied the defendant's motion to suppress. Judge Cacheris held that: (1) as a matter of first impression, physical searches authorized under FISA do not violate Fourth Amendment provision against searches and seizures; (2) FISA does not violate due process clause of Fifth Amendment; (3) FISA does not deny defendant right to counsel provided for in Sixth Amendment; (4) surveillance conducted pursuant to FISA does not violate equal protection clause of Fifth Amendment; (5) FISA does not violate separation of powers doctrine by having Article III judges adjudicate search requests; and (6) FISA does not violate the political question doctrine. United States v. Nicholson, 955 F. Supp. 588 (E.D. Va. 1997).

All other documents, except the docket, have been sealed.

Jessica Kincaid - 06/16/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Conditions of confinement
Extradition
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Torture
Totality of conditions
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Harold Nicholson
Plaintiff Description The U.S.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Criminal Conviction
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives
Just Security
Posted: Jun. 26, 2014
By: Margo Schlanger
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:96−cr−00448 (E.D. Va.) 08/14/1997
NS-VA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion 02/03/1997 (995 F.Supp. 582) (E.D. Va.)
NS-VA-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion 02/14/1997 (955 F.Supp. 588) (E.D. Va.)
NS-VA-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Cacheris, James Chris (FISC, E.D. Va.)
NS-VA-0001-0002 | NS-VA-0001-0003 | NS-VA-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chesnut, Robert (Virginia)
NS-VA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers O'Grady, Liam (Virginia)
NS-VA-0001-9000
Shapiro, Jonathan (Virginia)
NS-VA-0001-9000
Turley, Jonathan (District of Columbia)
NS-VA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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