- 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
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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: Particularity
CA2: GFE applies to particularity of SWs too
The good faith exception applies to particularity questions where the officer cannot reasonably be expected to question the scope of the warrant. United States v. Walker, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 11798 (2d Cir. May 15, 2023). “Given that a police … Continue reading
N.D.Ga.: This is not an “all records” warrant; it was limited to mostly activities in Ethiopia
This was not an “all records” search warrant. It was limited to evidence of defendant’s “affiliation and association with” civilian militias in Ethiopia and that he was indicted and convicted in absentia there. United States v. Belayneh, 2023 U.S. Dist. … Continue reading
NY Albany: SW’s problematic time limits support severability
The time limits on the scope of the warrant are problematic, but severable. People v. Williams, 2023 NY Slip Op 23137, 2023 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2165 (Albany Co. May 8, 2023).* In a sex trafficking case, probable cause was shown … Continue reading
E.D.Tenn.: Mislabeling SW attachments not worthy of exclusion
Accidental reverse numbering of Attachments A and B didn’t make the search warrant void. United States v. Deakins, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60866 (E.D. Tenn. Apr. 6, 2023).* Plaintiff’s claim that the Director of National Intelligence violates the Fourth Amendment … Continue reading
MS: SW was for stolen property from a particular victim and clothing seen in video
The warrant here was particular enough. It didn’t just seek stolen property; it sought particular property stolen from the victim and clothing worn during the burglary caught on video. Williamson v. State, 2023 Miss. App. LEXIS 125 (Apr. 4, 2023). … Continue reading
N.D.Ala.: Wrong street number in a SW didn’t void it where house was well described and officers had been there before
The wrong street number on the search warrant did not make it invalid. Officers knew the house from surveillance, and it was described. The right house was searched. “So, the erroneous street number did not make the warrant invalid.” Threatt … Continue reading
D.N.M.: Search warrants are directed at places, not persons; offender need not be mentioned
Search warrants are directed at places, not persons. “Because, at the time of the oral affidavit, there was a fair probability the crime of kidnapping occurred and a fair probability evidence of that crime would be found in Defendant’s home … Continue reading
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
CA3: SWs based on inference alone risk failing on nexus; here, however, GFE applies
The affidavit could have been stronger because more information was available and not provided the USMJ. All things considered, it wasn’t so devoid of probable cause that the good faith exception applies. The court cautioned: “As Magistrate Judges may draw … Continue reading
M.D.Pa.: SW for cash derived from drug sales was particular enough
The search warrant for U.S. currency derived from illegal drug sales was sufficiently particular as to the warrant for defendant’s house. United States v. Jones, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33429 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2023). The CSLI warrant here was … 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
D.Ariz.: Holding on to DL too long during traffic stop required RS
The traffic stop was justified, as was running the DL. However, the officer held on to the license too long and extended the stop without ending it. The continuation of the stop lacked reasonable suspicion. United States v. Serna, 2023 … Continue reading
CA1: No REP in guns hidden in house def wasn’t welcome at when he returned after being kicked out
Defendant stayed in a house with a domestic partner and her son until he was kicked out. He returned to assault her and hide guns there. He had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the premises. United States v. John, … Continue reading
E.D.N.Y.: “MS-13 paraphernalia, photographs, and/or graffiti” satisfied particularity
In a RICO prosecution of MS-13, the search warrant included “MS-13 paraphernalia, photographs, and/or graffiti” and this satisfied particularity. United States v. Saenz, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 231895 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2022):
PA: Attachment to a warrant can provide particularity
The attachment to a warrant can provide particularity. While one ground to suppress was mostly litigated, it was apparent the other ground wasn’t waived or abandoned. Commonwealth v. Young, 2022 PA Super 220 (Dec. 23, 2022).* “Here, the record demonstrates … Continue reading
S.D.N.Y.: The SW was as particular as the information officers had would allow
“In this case, by contrast, there is no indication that law enforcement had a wealth of detailed information that was not reflected in the search warrant. The Premises Warrant was not required to provide more details regarding the specific electronic … Continue reading
CA8: SW in CP case can include whole house, not just def’s room
In a child pornography case, the search warrant need not be limited to only defendant’s room. It can be the whole house. United States v. Schave, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 34757 (8th Cir. Dec. 16, 2022). Officers got a warrant … Continue reading
OR: SW omitted apt. no. but affidavit had it; they both were present at the search and that was sufficient
The affidavit for this warrant mentioned only defendant’s apartment building. The affidavit mentioned the apartment number. “The warrant did not incorporate or otherwise reference the affidavit and did not identify defendant by name. Green testified that the omission was an … Continue reading