- Ga.Bar J.: Who Should Guard the Attorney-Client Privilege When Documents are Seized by Law Enforcement,
- 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
ABA Journal Web 100, Best Law Blogs (2017); ABA Journal Blawg 100 (2015-16) (discontinued 2018)
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: Cell phones
OR: For particularity in electronic devices, specify what will be found
In Oregon, “For searches of electronic devices, a warrant is specific enough to satisfy the particularity requirement if it ‘describe[s], with as much specificity as reasonably possible under the circumstances, what investigating officers believe will be found’ on the device, … Continue reading
D.Idaho: Def can’t get access to his cell phone yet because govt has yet to search it because it’s password protected
Defendant wants return of his cell phone because he asserts, without specifying, that there is exculpatory evidence on it. The government responds that it hasn’t opened the phone yet because it is password protected. The government wants the password to … Continue reading
OR: Cell phone SW in part for “evidence related to the crimes under investigation” was overbroad
The search warrant for defendant’s cell phone was specific as to particular images but general as to others, and it is suppressed as to the others. “The fact that the media command limited the media search to ‘evidence related to … Continue reading
TX: Totality of circumstances applies to exigency on warrantless seizure of cell phone
“Rather than announcing a categorical rule that police may never seize personal property simply because a criminal suspect knows he is a suspect, the court of appeals should have analyzed under the totality of the circumstances whether law enforcement’s seizure … Continue reading
What we think of our reasonable expectation of privacy in cell phones
U.Chi. School of Law: The Myth of Fourth Amendment Circularity by Matthew B. Kugler & Lior Jacob Strahilevitz:
S.D.N.Y.: 49 day delay in cell phone search was presumptively unreasonable, but totality of circumstances favored govt
Balancing the factors of a delay in a cell phone search of 49 days, the length is presumptively unreasonable but the other factors all favor the government. Motion to suppress denied. United States v. Wells, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30720 … Continue reading
GA: SW for practically everything on cell phone was a general warrant
The search warrant for defendant’s cell phone was overbroad, essentially permitting a general search of the entirety of information on it. Limiting it to a homicide was of no help. The good faith exception also does not apply. The fact … Continue reading
E.D.Va.: Search of cell phone at school for explicit photos of 14-year-old reasonable under T.L.O.
A 13-year-old male student was showing explicit pictures of a 14-year-old girl on his phone at school. The search of the phone by school officials was reasonable under T.L.O., and it led him to juvenile court. O.W. v. Sch. Bd. … Continue reading
W.D.N.Y.: 108-day delay in SW for cell phone was unreasonable
An unreasonable 108-day delay in retrieving defendant’s cell phone from local police after the DEA adopted the case required suppression of the search of the phone. United States v. Adams, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23973 (W.D.N.Y. Feb. 13, 2023). Officers … Continue reading
D.Colo.: Date range isn’t always required by 4A for particularity of cell phone SW
In a cell phone search warrant, “Although Trujillo argues that the date range from May 16, 2022, to present lacked ‘legal justification,’ Trujillo provides no explanation or authority as to how this date range rendered the warrant unconstitutionally general. There … Continue reading
W.D.N.C.: Def must state phone is his to have standing to contest SW
Without acknowledging the cell phone police searched was his, defendant did not show standing to contest the search. Even so, the use of forensic software to bypass the password protection on the phone didn’t make the search unreasonable. United States … Continue reading
WY: In felony domestic battery case, state showed nexus that evidence could likely be found in def’s journal
Defendant was convicted of strangulation of a family member. The family member reported to the police that he had been in counseling and was keeping a detailed journal trying to break the cycle of domestic abuse. The affidavit for the … Continue reading
CA6: Water heard running in hotel room bathroom supported exigency for avoiding destruction of evidence
Water heard running in the bathroom of a hotel room justified entry to avoid potential destruction of evidence. United States v. Hill, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 785 (6th Cir. Jan. 11, 2023). Defendant’s Franks challenge doesn’t undermine the two critical … Continue reading
D.Minn.: Involuntary civil detainees in a sex offender program have no REP in their rooms
Involuntary civil detainees in a sex offender program have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their rooms. White v. Dayton, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71 (D. Minn. Jan. 3, 2023). Habeas petitioner’s claim that a bad photo ID led to … Continue reading
OH: The fact a cell phone was found at the scene of a car crash gives no PC to search it for evidence of distracted driving merely by its presence
The fact a cell phone was found at the scene of a car crash gives no probable cause to search it for evidence of distracted driving merely by its presence. “[*P1] In this appeal, we are asked to decide whether … Continue reading
TX14: PC for a cell phone requires more than a bare conclusion one was present or involved; no PC here
“A probable cause affidavit supporting a cell phone search must contain evidence of the requisite nexus with more than mere conclusory allegations. For example, the Court of Criminal Appeals recently held that generic, boilerplate language about cell phone use among … Continue reading