I was out in Fairfax early this morning grabbing a few shots of the exterior of the law firm I worked last week. I could not help but turn and take a few photos of the Fairfax Courthouse. The architecture is beautiful. I love old buildings. About six months earlier I was doing the very same thing when I was approached by two sheriff bailiffs. The next 20 minutes were very uncomfortable and I felt I could be locked up at any minute. I was questioned about my motives and was asked to produce ID. I was asked to show them my pictures. I was also asked if I had outstanding warrants. I was cooperative. The bailiffs were not very nice. I was released. I studied up on my rights as a photographer. I filed a complaint. I received a full apology from the bailiffs supervisor within the week.
Apparently this type of scenario goes on a lot. I was on a public street taking a picture of a public building. What law was I violating? None. If you would like to know what your rights are as a photographer see this link. It was an interesting experience but not one I care to repeat.