CA3: GFE for GPS can derive from old law, without binding authority

ACLU: Federal Appeals Court Rules Evidence Obtained From GPS Device Without Warrant Is Admissible:

PHILADELPHIA – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that evidence derived from warrantless use of a GPS tracking device can be used in court, even though law enforcement’s failure to get a warrant before attaching the device to a car may have violated the Fourth Amendment.

The 8-5 decision in this case, U.S. v. Katzin, applies an expansive interpretation of the so-called “good-faith exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule, holding that officers reasonably relied on decades-old cases dealing with primitive “beeper” tracking technology in concluding that no warrant was required for sophisticated GPS tracking.
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Posted in Good faith exception, GPS / Tracking Data | Comments Off California Governor Signs Anti-Surveillance Bill California Governor Signs Anti-Surveillance Bill:

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill prohibiting the state from supplying “material support, participation, or assistance” in response to certain federal requests for metadata and electronic communications.

The so-called Fourth Amendment Protection Act, introduced with bipartisan sponsorship in January to combat National Security Agency surveillance programs, was heavily revised in the state legislature, limiting its punch.

The new law prohibits the state from helping federal authorities acquire “electronically stored information or metadata of any person if the state has actual knowledge that the request constitutes an illegal or unconstitutional collection.”

Brown, a Democrat, did not issue a signing statement and his office did not immediately provide comment. The final version of the bill passed both chambers of the legislature without opposition in August after an earlier version won near-unanimous approval in the state Senate in May.

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WPIX: NYPD arrests drone user after close call with police helicopter

WPIX: NYPD arrests drone user after close call with police helicopter by Ayana Harry:

The New York Police Department says they grounded a helicopter in the middle of a missing person search in Brooklyn on September 17th after a drone was spotted close to the police aircraft. Officers tracked the drone to its owner, Isaac Rosa, 34 of Bushwick. Rosa was charged with reckless endangerment and obstructing government administration. Police say Rosa is due back in court in November.

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WaPo: Jury awards $1.8 million to wrongly raided Denver family

WaPo: Jury awards $1.8 million to wrongly raided Denver family by Radley Balko:
Not for the mistaken raid, but for decision to prosecute family members afterward: two kids for assaulting an officer.

If Denver officials had simply left it at that, it’s unlikely that the Martinez family would have received any compensation at all. The jury in the family’s civil case didn’t find the raid itself to be abuse. It was the decision to prosecute the boys that was apparently too much. But the family won’t be collecting any time soon. The state plans to appeal. But at best, once again, the party that will be punished for the abuse of innocent people by police and prosecutors won’t be the police and prosecutors who committed the abuse, but Denver (and probably Colorado) taxpayers.

Posted in Police misconduct | Comments Off

NY Times: California Will Allow Family Members to Seek Seizure of Guns

NY Times: California Will Allow Family Members to Seek Seizure of Guns by Ian Lovett:

California will be the first state in the country to allow private citizens to ask a court to seize guns from family members who they believe pose a threat to themselves or the public, under a measure signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

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BLT: NSA Hearing in the D.C. Circuit Will Not Be Televised

BLT: NSA Hearing in the D.C. Circuit Will Not Be Televised:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for he D.C. Circuit will not televise its Nov. 4 oral argument over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records.

Posted in FISA / national security | Comments Off

Courthouse News Service: US Defends Legality of NSA Spying That It Won’t Explain Further

Courthouse News Service: US Defends Legality of NSA Spying That It Won’t Explain Further by Arvin Temkar:

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Even if there were evidence that a domestic spying program was unconstitutional, interference by the courts could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security, the government told a federal judge.

Urging U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to deny the plaintiffs partial summary judgment and instead rule for the government, the Monday filing from the Department of Justice says that the National Security Administration’s information-collecting techniques do not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The filing comes in the case Jewel v. NSA, a high-profile domestic spying case filed in 2008 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It stems from a 2006 revelation by a former AT&T technician that the company was routing copies of emails, Web browsing data and other Internet information to a secret NSA-controlled location in San Francisco.

Posted in FISA / national security | Comments Off

On Point: Auditing America’s Police Force

On Point: Auditing America’s Police Force:

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

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CA11: Arguable PC for arrest gives qualified immunity

Arguable probable cause for a warrantless arrest and then a valid search warrant gives qualified immunity to the officers involved. Ultimately the DA decided not to prosecute the plaintiffs, and it was a close case for prosecution. Roddy v. City of Huntsville, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18555 (11th Cir. September 29, 2014).* The first two paragraphs pretty much say it all:

In this appeal we consider whether the arrests of Dr. William Roddy and his wife and the search of their hotel room, pursuant to a search warrant, violated their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV.

The Roddys’ day was off to a bad start when a hotel employee called 911 after Dr. Roddy allegedly pulled his gun on another hotel guest. It got worse when officers searched Dr. Roddy and recovered a gun, nearly $3,900 in wadded-up cash, and controlled substances. And then a search of Room 1020 offered a treasure trove of pain pills and other drugs. Because the officers acted with arguable probable cause when they arrested Dr. Roddy and his wife and because Officer Jason Ramsey procured a valid search warrant before searching the Roddys’ hotel room, we conclude that the officers are entitled to qualified immunity. We affirm the summary judgment against the Roddys.

Posted in Qualified immunity, § 1983 | Comments Off

LATimes: Governor vetoes bill that would have limited police use of drones

LATimes: Governor vetoes bill that would have limited police use of drones by Phil Willon & Melanie Mason:

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.

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WaPo: Supreme Court fails frequently, professor writes

WaPo: Supreme Court fails frequently, professor writes by Robert Barnes:

After nearly four decades as a lawyer and 30 years teaching would-be lawyers, and after writing a leading textbook on constitutional law and helping establish a law school, and after standing before the justices five times on behalf of his clients, Erwin Chemerinsky has fallen out of love with the Supreme Court.


His break-up note runs for 342 pages and is called “The Case Against the Supreme Court.” The book makes its regretful message clear at the very beginning:

“We should realize that this is an emperor that truly has no clothes. For too long, we have treated the Court is if they are the high priests of the law, or at least as if they are the smartest and best lawyers in society.”

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W.D.Wash.: No evidentiary hearing on motion to suppress without a prima facie showing of some illegality

The defense does not get an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress without at least a preliminary showing that some illegality occurred in the search and seizure at issue. Here, defendant can’t show that except by speculation or that the challenged illegality even mattered, and the motion is denied. United States v. Bonds, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136469 (W.D. Wash. September 26, 2014)*:

Defendants wishing to suppress evidence have the initial burden, first of proving with “specific evidence” that an unlawful search occurred, and second, that the evidence they wish to suppress under the exclusionary rule or fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine is the product of the unlawful search or seizure. As part of this second showing, the defendant must at least “establish[] a factual nexus between the illegality and the challenged evidence.” United States v. Kandik, 633 F.2d 1334, 1335 (9th Cir. 1980). After this point, the burden “shifts to the government to show that it acquired its evidence from an independent source.” Cella, 568 F.2d at 1284-85. See also United States v. Polizzi, 500 F.2d 856, 910 (9th Cir. 1974).

Posted in Burden of proof, Motion to suppress | Comments Off

E.D.Ky.: 911 call about possible OD permitted police walk through to look for cause

Police and the fire department responded to a 911 call involving the unexplained death of a 25 year old woman. Once inside, they called the coroner, and then walked through to check for possible causes, finding in plain view cash, a list of drug debts, and other things suggesting drug trafficking. The entry and walk through was legal before a search warrant was sought. United States v. Rodriguez-Flores, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136410 (E.D. Ky. September 24, 2014):

Under the exigent circumstances exception, officers responding to medical emergencies may secure a scene for both safety and evidentiary concerns. See, e.g., Brigham City, Utah v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006) (collecting cases); Stricker v. Township of Cambridge, 710 F.3d 350, 361-62 (6th Cir. 2013) (upholding a protective sweep as “objectively reasonable” by officers responding to a 911 call when they “turned the house upside down” as they searched for clues as to what the victim might have ingested to cause his overdose).

Posted in Emergency / exigency | Comments Off

WaPo: A few thoughts on Heien v. North Carolina

WaPo: A few thoughts on Heien v. North Carolina by Orin Kerr:

The first argued case in the new Supreme Court term will be Heien v. North Carolina, a Fourth Amendment case about whether a reasonable mistake of law can create cause for a Fourth Amendment search or seizure. I think the defendant has the better argument that the answer is “no.” In this post, I’ll explain the case and why I think the defense should prevail.

Argument is October 6th.

Posted in Reasonable suspicion | Comments Off

LA5: Failing to object to evidence at trial after denial of motion to suppress is waiver

After defendant’s motion to suppress was denied, the evidence was offered at trial saying “No objection, your Honor.” That was trial waiver. State v. Patin, 2014 La. App. LEXIS 2288 (La.App. 5 Cir. September 24, 2014).

The trial court credited the officers on the question of consent to search the residence. State v. Dawson, 2014 La. App. LEXIS 2265 (La.App. 1 Cir. September 24, 2014).*

There was probable cause for a search warrant for defendant’s computer and cell phone based on his Craiglist response and emails about meeting a father and 12 year old daughter for sex who was actually a police officer trolling the Internet. And, of course, he showed up at the required location. United States v. Intakanok, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136122 (S.D. Ga. August 19, 2014).*

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E.D.Va.: “Courts have been clear that police need not corroborate information given by known informants.”

“Courts have been clear that police need not corroborate information given by known informants. Like the CI in Harris, the CI in this case was known to provide reliable information that led to arrests. Thus, police corroboration was unnecessary. But the police, as in Perkins, did confirm important aspects of the tip before stopping Defendant.” United States v. Chappell, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134820 (E.D. Va. September 23, 2014).*

The government has had defendant’s cell phone for two years and hasn’t gotten the password to open it, but has text messages [some how]. The government wants to show it to the jury whether it’s opened or not, so the motion to return is denied. United States v. Robles, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135876 (C.D. Cal. September 22, 2014).*

Defendant’s computer was with a computer technician for repair. The tech called the police describing search terms he found and the police didn’t think that qualified as child pornography. On his own, then, the tech searched the computer and found videos that he considered child porn, and he called the police again. They took possession of the computer and applied for a search warrant which was valid. The search of the videos wasn’t instigated by the police. United States v. Tapley, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134800 (D. Me. September 24, 2014).*

Posted in Informant hearsay, Private search, Rule 41(g) / return of property | Comments Off

CO: Cell phone was searched first without a warrant then with; remanded for determination whether independent source rule applies

Defendant’s cell phone was searched without a warrant, and Riley applies. Whether the later search warrant for the cell phone was valid via the independent source rule has inadequate findings, so the case is remanded for further findings. People v. Omwanda, 2014 Colo. App. LEXIS 1569 (September 25, 2014)*:
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Posted in Cell phones, Independent source | Comments Off