- D.Nev.: Affidavits for SWs don’t have to prove the underlying crimes
- D.V.I.: Flyover of curtilage from navigable airspace was reasonable
- NJ: Disputes in the facts on appeal show trial court should have held a hearing
- NY: Second SW for phone a year later after first SW failed to show PC wasn’t timely
- GA: Not objecting to mention of “probation” search at trial was not IAC
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by John Wesley Hall
Criminal Defense Lawyer and
Search and seizure law consultant
Little Rock, Arkansas
Contact: forhall @ aol.com / The Book
online since Feb. 24, 2003 Approx. 350,000 visits (non-robot) since 2012 Approx. 45,000 posts since 2003 (25,700+ on WordPress as of 12/31/22)
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
“I am still learning.”
—Domenico Giuntalodi (but misattributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti (common phrase throughout 1500's)).
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers."
—Charles Dickens, “The Old Curiosity Shop ... With a Frontispiece. From a Painting by Geo. Cattermole, Etc.” 255 (1848)
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
"Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment."
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property."
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment."
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
---Pepé Le Pew
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)
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Category Archives: Overseizure
CAAF: The methodology of a search doesn’t have to be the best to still be reasonable
A flashing incident on a Marine base in December 2018 led to a search authorization of defendant’s cell phone. The images on the phone were first sorted by size instead of date, and that led to accidentally discovering an apparent … Continue reading
CA9: SOL on search claim starts with the search
Case over search dismissed on SOL grounds. Plaintiff on notice from the time of the search. Reyes v. Cty. of Wash., 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 9353 (9th Cir. Apr. 19, 2023). The officers obtaining and executing the warrant for defendant’s … Continue reading
OH5: Admission of MJ but no MMJ card was PC
Admission there was marijuana in the car and nobody had a MMJ card was probable cause. State v. Hale, 2023-Ohio-1057, 2023 Ohio App. LEXIS 1025 (5th Dist. Mar. 30, 2023). A conclusory allegation that false information in an affidavit for … Continue reading
N.D.Okla.: NCIS SW in Japan as violation of Posse Comitatus Act was waived by guilty plea
Defendant was the subject of an NCIS search warrant while stationed in Japan. That led to his prosecution in the Northern District of Oklahoma. His guilty plea waived his claim the Posse Comitatus Act was somehow violated. United States v. … Continue reading
CA6: Search of building next door to def’s building wasn’t reason to suppress def’s search
Officers with a search warrant for 8537 Old Rutledge Pike, Knox County, Tennessee also searched what they believed was an outbuilding at 8533 with a power cord running between them with no indication it was different property. At worst, this … Continue reading
NY2: Search of wallet during a frisk unreasonable
Officers violated the Fourth Amendment during defendant’s frisk when they removed his wallet from his pocket and searched it. People v. Lewis, 2022 NY Slip Op 04920, 2022 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4797 (2d Dept. Aug. 10, 2022). The officer … Continue reading
N-M: Cell phone search authorization for one day produced 200,000 images; but still not unreasonable because of how it was done
The search authorization for defendant’s cell phone for location data and images for a particular date was supported by probable cause. The Cellebrite download included 200,000 images, far more than the day in question. While looking for the day in … Continue reading
CA10: “[N]o exclusionary rule for evidence gained through … entrapment”
“[T]here is no exclusionary rule for evidence gained through conduct later deemed to be entrapment.” United States v. Christian, 754 Fed. Appx. 747, 750 (10th Cir. 2018). United States v. Christian, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 12255 (10th Cir. May 6, … Continue reading
AF: Despite search authorization not permitting this search and GFE not applying, exclusionary rule should not apply; no deterrence
The search authorization for this service member’s cell phone was overbroad and failed to include text messages which were at issue. This failed Leon’s good faith exception: “We disagree, and find the fourth Leon exception clearly applies in this case—that … Continue reading
CA11: Ptf had no REP in workplace computer, even with personal iPhone backed up on it
Plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of privacy in her workplace computer from a search by the employer during an audit of her time off related to a second job instigated after a discrimination complaint. The fact she backed her iPhone … Continue reading
GA: When items not named in SW are found, standard is plain view not relevance
The trial court and court of appeals erred in determining whether a seizure of items outside a search warrant were “relevant” or whether regular plain view applied. It’s plain view, and the case is remanded to the trial court to … Continue reading
WA: PC and nexus shown for CSLI warrant before Carpenter
Defendant was a suspect in a diamond theft. Police obtained a search warrant for his cell phone location records and that placed him near the burglary at the time it happened, and there was probable cause for it. The search … Continue reading
D.Kan.: Seizure under part of SW without PC is suppressed, but remainder valid
“Whitmore’s motions are granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, his motion to exclude evidence from his arrest is denied. With respect to the search of the cell phone, the affidavit provides no probable cause for seeking evidence of … Continue reading
CA10: PC doesn’t need to be decided where GFE would apply; overbroad SWs are severed
Probable cause does not have to be decided where the good faith exception would apply. The warrant was for firearm evidence and had a cell phone search provision. If the cell phone provision was overbroad, that should be severed and … Continue reading
CT: Both halves of a duplex can’t be searched under a warrant for one
A search of both halves of a duplex under a search warrant for one was unreasonable and had to be suppressed. State v. Lyons, 2021 Conn. App. LEXIS 100 (Mar. 30, 2021). Defense counsel wasn’t ineffective for not challenging the … Continue reading
FL1: Sheriff’s Office failed to show TV and PlayStation were lawfully seized during drug search
The Bay County SO executed a drug search warrant at claimant’s father’s house and seized a flat screen TV and PlayStation. Claimant sought return, and the state claimed it was lawfully taken and became county property by operation of law. … Continue reading
D.Conn.: When govt raises an exception to warrant requirement, def must rebut in briefing, but cell phone seizure shown unjustified
In response to defendant’s motion to suppress, the government argued search incident, which the defense didn’t rebut in the papers. Motion denied in part. Defendant’s cell phone seizure is suppressed, however, because the government didn’t show justification for its seizure. … Continue reading
W.D.Wash.: iCloud SW temporal limit was impractical
An iCloud search warrant was not overbroad because the warrant sought a lot of material. Based on Apple’s protocols, it essentially had to be, and a time restriction wouldn’t be of any use. United States v. Woolard, 2021 U.S. Dist. … Continue reading
AL: A visitor to premises targeted by a SW who is more than a “transient visitor” is subject to search
Defendant was a visitor at a house that was searched under a warrant for drugs. Her purse was searched, too. “Because Powers was more than a ‘transient visitor’ at Moyers’s house and had a known relationship to the premises, and … Continue reading
CA7: Computer search condition was not related to crime of conviction and was thus unreasonable
Defendant’s computer search release condition had no rational relationship to the crime. He was not a sex offender and there was no computer link to his crimes. United States v. Morgan, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 2972 (7th Cir. Feb. 3, … Continue reading