- 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: Unreasonable application / § 2254(d)
D.P.R.: Mere presence of FBI at USPO search didn’t make PO ‘stalking horse’
Mere presence of FBI and other law enforcement officers at USPO’s search based on reasonable suspicion did not make the PO a “stalking horse” for the police. United States v. Borges-Sánchez, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66017 (D.P.R. Apr. 14, 2023). … Continue reading
S.D.Ill.: Strategy under Strickland for defense to admit SW affidavit into evidence
It was not unreasonable strategy for the defense to admit at trial the affidavit for his search warrant to challenge the quality of the investigation that the search produced nothing and the informant wasn’t reliable. He was acquitted of one … Continue reading
M.D.Ala.: A Franks challenge that appears only to be an attempt to examine the CI fails
Defendant’s Franks challenge fails on recklessness. Moreover, it really is just a desire to cross-examine the CI. “Neal’s request for a Franks hearing also falls short for a separate, independent reason: contrary to the requirements of Franks, Neal’s application for … Continue reading
D.Or.: Ptf stated 1A retaliation claim that SW for his property was because of his speech
Plaintiff stated a claim that execution of a search warrant for his property and writings was retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights. “Here, when the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, a reasonable juror could … Continue reading
D.Minn.: No 4A claim for seizure of legal papers in prison
There is no Fourth Amendment claim for seizure of legal papers when an inmate was moving within a prison. Smith v. Starr, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139361 (D. Minn. Aug. 5, 2022). “Following the arrest, however, the agents lawfully knew … Continue reading
CA6: With multiple uses of excessive force, each must be analyzed
“Where ‘a plaintiff claims that excessive force was used multiple times, “the court must segment the incident into its constituent parts and consider the officer’s entitlement to qualified immunity at each step along the way.”’ Wright, 962 F.3d at 865 … Continue reading
DE: Def counsel not ineffective for not forecasting Jones GPS case
“Because the Court will not find trial counsel ineffective for failing to ‘effectively’ raise an issue of first impression [on GPS placement], and because the Court believes that even if he had done so effectively, the issue would not have … Continue reading
N.D.Ind.: 2254(d) “unreasonable application” review considered whether correct case law applied
In this 2254, the argument was that the state court’s application of law violated 2254’s “unreasonable” application standard, but it didn’t. The question was whether Michigan v. Long or Arizona v. Gant applies. “In sum, the State courts’ reliance on … Continue reading
NY4: Minor typos in SW application don’t void the warrant
“We reject defendant’s contention that the search warrant for his cell phones was issued without probable cause. According ‘great deference to the issuing [Justice]’ …, we conclude that Supreme Court properly determined that there was sufficient information in the warrant … Continue reading
WA: HIPAA violation in seizing medical records by SW required their return
The trial court’s order denying return of patient records taken by search warrant from the petitioner youth services provider failed to comply with HIPAA requirements should have been granted. While the records have been returned and the case is otherwise … Continue reading
CA9: Use of def’s suppression hearing testimony in penalty phase not unreasonable application of Simmons
The California Supreme Court’s holding that Simmons did not bar using defendant’s suppression hearing testimony in the death penalty phase of his criminal trial (People v. Ochoa, 19 Cal. 4th 353, 79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 408, 966 P.2d 442, 464, … Continue reading
CA10: Nexus for CP can logically move when def does
Police had probable cause defendant uploaded child pornography from home. Then he moved. It was reasonable to assume his computers went with him to the new address, so nexus was sufficiently shown for probable cause there. United States v. Kilgore, … Continue reading
S.D.W.Va.: A tiny scrap of mj in a trash pull doesn’t support an inference of drug dealing from the house
“Detective Aldridge could not reasonably have believed that the three tiny scraps of marijuana in the trash—unable to cover even a corner of a Post-it note [actually a stem; photo included]—could support the idea of ongoing or recurrent activity in … Continue reading
DE: Def had no standing to complain where govt actor entered neighbor’s property to look at his
Plaintiff had no standing to challenge a government actor’s entry into his neighbor’s property to look at his. McCafferty v. New Castle County Bd. of License, 2021 Del. Super. LEXIS 343 (Apr. 26, 2021). No matter how the court views … Continue reading
D.Minn.: Because tracking order affiant was fired for falsifying other tracking requests doesn’t mean this one was false when def can’t show anything
Defense counsel wasn’t ineffective for not challenging the tracking warrant in defendant’s case based on the fact the officer who got it was fired for falsifying other tracking orders. “Bettis alleges that his counsel was ineffective by failing to challenge … Continue reading
MI: Inventory policy doesn’t have to be written if it’s standardized
A written search inventory policy isn’t constitutionally required. “We hold that, in order to establish that an inventory search is reasonable, the prosecution must establish that an inventory-search policy existed, all police officers were required to follow the policy, the … Continue reading
D.Idaho: Traffic stop was admitted pretextual but it was based on RS of a drug offense and otherwise objectively reasonable
Defendant’s traffic stop was admittedly pretextual to investigate a drug offense, and the officers had reasonable suspicion on collective knowledge to justify the stop. United States v. Tuschoff, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47130 (D. Idaho Mar. 10, 2021). The CI … Continue reading
CA11: Def doesn’t show searching officer’s arrest two years after his trial would have changed outcome for successor habeas
Defendant’s searching officer’s arrest two years after defendant’s conviction didn’t qualify for a successor habeas because he couldn’t show that the new information would have affected the officer’s credibility at a suppression hearing or trial, nor does he allege prejudice. … Continue reading
IA: Oral permission to amend SW to correct address of place to be searched made SW particular
When the executing officers arrived at the place of search, they realized that the particular description of the place to be searched was wrong. The affiant (apparently) called the issuing judge and got permission to amend the warrant’s place to … Continue reading
N.D.Ohio: Reasonableness of a parole search can include considering def’s criminal record
Knights on parole and probation searches is a reasonableness on the totality test, and this measures up. Defendant’s criminal record is a relevant factor for the officers to consider. United States v. Sharp, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18768 (N.D. Ohio … Continue reading