- OR: For particularity in electronic devices, specify what will be found
- W.D.N.C.: Traffic stop for expired tags went right to criminal history and was overlong
- ID rejects “reasonable mistake of law” and Heien under state constitution; state’s exclusionary rule is broader
- CA6: Even if harassment was a basis to exclude a parole search, it wasn’t shown here
- ID: Drug dog putting feet on car door and window during stiff was a trespass on the chattel and the search should have been suppressed
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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: Curtilage
OH5: Drone flyover found car hidden in def’s open fields
Defendant owned a vehicle police suspected was involved in an accident, and suspected it was hidden on his somewhat rural property. They used a drone to fly over the property seeing what was likely the car and then got a … Continue reading
OH6: Officer coming to front door to knock who pauses to listen to voices inside doesn’t violate 4A
On a DV call, the officer approached the front door of defendant’s house to knock, but he paused to listen to voices inside. That listening before knocking was not an unreasonable search. State v. Kunkle, 2023-Ohio-661, 2023 Ohio App. LEXIS … Continue reading
ND: Trial court’s finding of investigatory purpose for inventory search supported by record
The district court found that the purported inventory search was really for investigatory purposes, and the evidence supports that conclusion. The inevitable discovery exception also does not apply here. State v. Krall, 2023 ND 8, 2023 N.D. LEXIS 9 (Jan. … Continue reading
E.D.Tenn.: Backyard firepit was part of curtilage
A firepit in defendant’s yard (an “outdoor living area”) was part of the curtilage. The officer, however, was lawfully on the curtilage for a knock-and-talk. United States v. Thurman, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9358 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 19, 2023).* Sometimes … Continue reading
CA3: Scope of curtilage argument changed on appeal and thus waived
This case involved an argument about what is curtilage around a tent and firepit. Explosives were found outside this curtilage. On appeal, the scope of curtilage changed, and it’s waived. United States v. Madziarek, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 34076 (3d … Continue reading
IN: dog sniff outside a hotel room door was reasonable under the state constitution
A dog sniff outside a hotel room door was reasonable under the state constitution. (And, while other information was illegally gathered, this was enough for the warrant.) Crabtree v. State, 2022 Ind. App. LEXIS 385 (Dec. 1, 2022). Excessive force … Continue reading
WI: Warrantless entry into curtilage was not hot pursuit
The officers here were not in continuous hot pursuit when they entered defendant’s fenced-in backyard, his curtilage. They went there on a call, and they weren’t following. Entry suppressed. State v. Wilson, 2022 WI 77, 2022 Wisc. LEXIS 99 (Nov. … Continue reading
E.D.N.C.: SW needed for drone surveillance over a home
A request for a court order for drone surveillance over a home requires a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. A request under the All Writs Act isn’t the way to do it. In re Application of the United States For … Continue reading
D.Me.: DEA could subpoena records investigating robbery of a marijuana dispensary
The DEA’s administrative subpoenas over records of the suspect over the alleged robbery of a marijuana dispensary were lawful exercises of power. Carpenter does not apply to mere phone records. United States v. Candelario, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199195 (D. … Continue reading
CT: Entry onto def’s deck was for community caretaking function
The officer’s entry onto defendant’s deck here was of a community caretaking function to inform defendant that a loved one was going to the hospital. It was like a knock-and-talk. State v. Kuehn, 2022 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2075 (Sep. 13, … Continue reading
MA: Ptf stated claim for unjustified community caretaking entry to investigate alleged elder abuse
Plaintiff was caring for a 95-year-old retired priest. She stated a claim for a Fourth Amendment violation for a warrantless entry into her house, in part, under the community caretaking function without justification. Gallagher v. S. Shore Hosp., Inc., 2022 … Continue reading
GA: Officers with an arrest warrant can enter the backyard, too
Officers with an arrest warrant for defendant at his place were permitted to enter the backyard too, where evidence was seen and seized. Jones v. State, 2022 Ga. LEXIS 256 (Sep. 20, 2022). Not mentioning in the affidavit for search … Continue reading
S.D.Iowa: Video surveillance of an apartment door from a camera planted in a common area was subject to GFE
Officers planted a video camera hidden in a fake fire alarm in defendant’s apartment building hallway aimed at his door to record his comings and goings. The government argues whether this was reasonable doesn’t need to be decided because, even … Continue reading
E.D.Ark.: Probation officer conducting home visit can smell around the door for drug use
A probation officer at defendant’s house for a home visit could smell around the door, and, here, the smell of marijuana being used inside was evident. That was not unreasonable. United States v. Toney, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120895 (E.D. … Continue reading
CA4: Asking motorist whether he is armed relates to officer safety
Asking motorist whether he is armed relates to officer safety, and it is reasonable during a stop. United States v. Racer, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 18664 (4th Cir. July 7, 2022). Dog sniff outside an apartment door didn’t violate any … Continue reading
Cal.6: Calling drug dog before the stop helped show the stop was prolonged for dog’s arrival
The officer unreasonably prolonged the stop for the arrival of the drug dog. While subjective intentions aren’t determinative under Whren, here the officer called for the drug dog before the stop even happened. People v. Ayon, 2022 Cal. App. LEXIS … Continue reading
CA6 & FL1: Fact hemp is legal doesn’t make smell of MJ lack PC
The fact that hemp was legal doesn’t make the smell like marijuana a lack of probable cause. United States v. McCallister, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 18642 (6th Cir. July 7, 2022) (people in a park); Hatcher v. State, 2022 Fla. … Continue reading
TX13: Gated community not curtilage, but def’s own curtilage was violated
Where the officers followed defendant into a gated community, the roadway within was not curtilage. Evans v. State, 995 S.W.2d 284, 286 (Tex. App.—Houston (14th Dist.) 1999, pet. ref’d). However, the entry into defendant’s own curtilage was unreasonable. State v. … Continue reading
MI: REP in def’s barns despite being a distance from home
Defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in two barns on his farm, one locked and one unlocked with the door partially open. Curtilage to the home doesn’t matter. A later search warrant only described the home and not the … Continue reading