- AK: Search of def’s rifle case was unreasonable; he was doing nothing wrong
- D.N.M.: Failure to mention the CI’s criminal history is less important when the affidavit shows extensive corroboration
- S.D.N.Y.: Emails from CIs provided PC, and the SW was limited to categories of information
- E.D.Mich.: Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to establish probable cause
- W.D.La.: Officers’ subjective belief in def’s standing at time of search isn’t material to the court’s determination on objective facts
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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
"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: Particularity
A CI gave emails to government investigators about health care fraud. They and other information provided probable cause for more emails. The warrants were particularized by being limited to eight categories. United States v. Mathieu, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192281 … Continue reading
The search warrants here were particular because the affidavits and attachments were incorporated by reference and present at the time of the search. The temporal limitations on the warrant were not vague and stale. It was limited in scope otherwise. … Continue reading
Stolen tools were described in the search warrant by color and make, and this was not unconstitutionally vague in the description just because other brands might have the same color scheme. “In this case, the search warrants identified the items … Continue reading
N.D.W.Va.: SW lacked PC and was not particular: “his search warrant is among the broadest and most general warrants that have been reviewed by” this judge
The search warrant for defendant’s computer was essentially based on a hunch that it contained evidence in a homicide case, but the affidavit fails to state what. In a lengthy analysis, the court finds the computer warrant lacking in probable … Continue reading
M.D.La.: Typo in the address of the place to be searched not fatal where officers surveilled it before
There was an error in the address on the search warrant, but it’s clear to the court that there was no likelihood that the wrong apartment would be searched because the officers had surveilled it. There was reasonable suspicion for … Continue reading
The actual apartment number on the search warrant isn’t required when defendant’s apartment is clearly described. (“2819 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, La., described as the middle first floor apartment of a raised two story wood frame structure with grey stucco … Continue reading
D.Colo.: There is no requirement the SW particularly describe the inside of the place to be searched
The CI was corroborated by controlled buys and surveillance cameras showing drug deals outside defendant’s home. The house was sufficiently described that the wrong house wouldn’t be searched. “Ms. Pereda nonetheless argues the search warrant lacked particularity because it did … Continue reading
KY: SW not invalid because the color of door was wrong; finding gun during search for drugs not unreasonable
“Appellant specifically argues that the warrant was defective because it incorrectly described the front door to his residence as black when, in fact, the door was brown. Appellant’s first name was also misspelled in the warrant. However, neither of these … Continue reading
CA7: Searching wrong apt on ambiguous SW (apt 1 where there were 1A & 1B) gets qualified immunity here
When the officer arrived at plaintiff’s address with a search warrant for apartment 1, he instead found apartments 1A and 1B. The officers attempted to clear up the ambiguity before the search, and they searched 1A finding nothing, and the … Continue reading
CA5: SW was not for all business records, just types of employment records and it was particular enough
Defendant was convicted of encouraging illegal aliens to remain in the United States. A search warrant for his business sought types of employment records, and it was not overly broad. “[G]eneric language is permissible if it particularizes the types of … Continue reading
The good faith exception applies to the particularity of this search warrant. It was reasonably narrow, and even if it could be narrowed more, it wasn’t obviously overbroad. United States v. Alford, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21581 (11th Cir. Aug. … Continue reading
E.D.Mich.: Cell phone SWs have to be considered like a computer search; this was broad yet still particular enough
The search warrant for defendant’s phone was broad, yes, but it was sufficiently particular, and the good faith exception applies as well. A cell phone is a computer, and the issue is analyzed the same. United States v. Chang, 2018 … Continue reading