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Fourth Amendment cases,
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
“I still learn something new every day.”
—Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, "The Who Live at Hyde Park" (Showtime 2015)
"I can't talk about my singing. I'm inside it. How can you describe something you're inside of?"
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"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)
Category Archives: Excessive force
Chicago Tribune: Justice report finds systemic failures by Chicago police by Jason Meisner, Annie Sweeney, Dan Hinkel and Jeremy Gorner: The U.S. Department of Justice has released a long-awaited report castigating the Chicago Police Department for abuse against citizens, excessive … Continue reading
It does not violate clearly established law under the Fourth Amendment to shoot without warning when the shooting is otherwise justified. White v. Pauly, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 5 (Jan. 9, 2017) (per curiam):
The extended border search doctrine applied to a package shipped from China through customs at JFK and then to a warehouse in Bowie, Maryland. It was under lock and key, even on the truck, from customs to the warehouse where … Continue reading
At issue was a seizure and then warranted search of defendant’s cell phone looking for an incriminating text message that was already seen by the police on the recipient’s cell phone. At the hearing, the Superior Court granted a motion … Continue reading
Plaintiffs were two teenagers stopped by police for one vaguely matching the description of one of two robbers. One of them refused to put his phone away when the officer ordered him three times not to. At a § 1983 … Continue reading
NPR: Military-Trained Police May Be Less Hasty To Shoot, But That Got This Vet Fired by Quil Lawrence: There are plenty of recent stories involving white police officers who have shot and killed black men, including some who are on … Continue reading
SCOTUS grants cert in County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, 16-639, cert. pet. here, granting on questions 1 and 3. Questions presented: In a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, the district court concluded Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department (“LASD”) deputies … Continue reading
The use of pepper spray on somebody kicking a police car isn’t excessive force. Nigro v. Carrasquillo, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17921 (11th Cir. Oct. 4, 2016):
Quartz: Opinion: How America’s obsession with TV cop shows like “Law and Order SVU” enables police brutality in real life
Quartz: Opinion: How America’s obsession with TV cop shows like “Law and Order SVU” enables police brutality in real life by Noah Berlatsky: The narrative incentives here are clear—if you’re creating mass pulp entertainment, you want drama….But this need for … Continue reading
The video of plaintiff’s takedown in the jail on video certainly appears to be excessive force in violation of clearly established law. Denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity properly denied. Jennings v. Fuller, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16633 (6th … Continue reading