- 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
- OH5: Drone flyover found car hidden in def’s open fields
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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: Rule 41(g) / Return of property
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
M.D.Ala.: Controlled buy 4 days earlier leading to SW comes in under 404(b)
Defendant’s motion in limine about a controlled buy four days before the warrant is denied. It comes in under 404(b). United States v. Neal, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37649 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 7, 2023). “As already discussed at the motion … Continue reading
CA6: Govt completely failed to show nexus or PC thus no GFE
The affidavits supporting the records warrant for defendant’s home did not establish nexus between his alleged drug activity, drug records, and his address. Also, the affidavit did not allege that defendant dealt drugs from the house or that he even … Continue reading
OR: Computer hard drive with contraband could be destroyed with guilty plea
By defendant’s plea to a sex and child porn offense, the state could destroy the computer hard drives where the contraband was found. The seizure was in 2003, and the trial was 2017. State v. Forker, 323 Or. App. 323 … Continue reading
CA3: Delaware “hit and hold” practice for entries not decided because of consent
The court declines to decide the officers’ “hit and hold” entries where they entered without a warrant but under alleged exigency, secured the premises, and then sought a search warrant. Because there was independent justification for the warrantless search after … Continue reading
CA11: No jurisdiction to enjoin investigation after execution of SW
A District Court has no anomalous jurisdiction to bar the government from using evidence seized with a search warrant in an investigation. There are other remedies at the appropriate time. Trump v. United States. 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 33296 (11th … Continue reading
D.Minn.: Court won’t enjoin investigation after SW on ptf’s cell phone
Plaintiff can’t get access to search warrant papers yet because of an ongoing investigation. Second, the court won’t enjoin the use of the information from his seized telephone or order its return because of the ongoing investigation. Lindell v. United … Continue reading
The Recorder: Court Can’t Grant Request to Return John Eastman’s Emails, Jan. 6 Committee Says
The Recorder: Court Can’t Grant Request to Return John Eastman’s Emails, Jan. 6 Committee Says (“The committee said constitutional provisions, and Eastman’s own late filing, should end his appeal.”)
D.N.M.: There is no exclusionary rule under Rule 41(g)
An action for return of property under Rule 41(g) is not a motion to suppress and does not invoke any exclusionary rule. Eastman v. United States, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188438 (D.N.M. Oct. 14, 2022):
TX1: Order to return cell phone in murder investigation was without jurisdiction
The trial court’s order ordering return of a cell phone seized in a murder investigation was void and reversed. “‘Suppression of evidence and return of property are not the same relief.’” Defendant had not yet been indicted, so the trial … Continue reading
CA11: Declaratory judgment suit over search properly dismissed as interfering with criminal process
Plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment about a search issue underlying a criminal investigation. The district court dismissed because there was a remedy in the investigation, if it gets that far. Affirmed. Hawk Innovative Tech, LLC v. United States, 2022 U.S. … Continue reading
D.V.I.: Govt couldn’t prove helicopter flyover was 1000′ or more; suppressed
The government flew a helicopter over defendant’s property to photograph a suspected marijuana grow. It could not provide testimony that the helicopter was flown at 1000′ or above in navigable air space. Defendant had a subjected expectation of privacy against … Continue reading
CA3: Unnecessarily keeping guns of innocent parents for 8 years violated 4A, 5A, and 2A
Police seized 46 firearms from a murderer’s parents that had nothing to do with his crimes and they were never used in any proceeding. Eight years later after the son’s death sentence was affirmed on direct appeal and habeas, the … Continue reading
DDC: Delay in return of seized cell phone not necessarily unreasonable; Rule 41(g) provides procedural due process
DC Metro police seized numerous cell phones from BLM protestors, and they sued to recover them. The DC police policy wasn’t followed, but only by negligence, and that doesn’t state a claim against it. Rule 41(g) applies despite lack of … Continue reading
CA11: § 1983 suit that only claimed violations of state law did not state 4A claim
Plaintiff’s § 1983 suit that only claimed violations of state law did not state a Fourth Amendment claim. Lyons v. City of Abbeville, Ala., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 24110 (11th Cir. Aug. 26, 2022). Defendant does not get return of … Continue reading
N.D.W.Va.: A SW for those suspected of sending in drug-laced fake legal papers
For defense lawyers wondering about the increase in searches of legal mail, this case involved a search warrant of the house of someone suspected to sending in drug laced fake legal papers into federal prisons. Barker v. United States, 2022 … Continue reading
CA5: An intimidating police presence is not a seizure
An intimidating police presence is not a seizure. Tyson v. Cty. of Sabine, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 20902 (5th Cir. July 28, 2022). Defense counsel can’t be ineffective for not taking depositions in his criminal case to develop his search … Continue reading
Reason: What Is the FBI Trying To Hide About Its Raid on Innocent Americans’ Safe Deposit Boxes?
Reason: What Is the FBI Trying To Hide About Its Raid on Innocent Americans’ Safe Deposit Boxes? by Eric Boehm (“Federal prosecutors want to keep key details about the planning and execution of the March 2021 raid at U.S. Private … 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
WaPo: Agents seize phone of lawyer who pushed Trump false elector claims
WaPo: Agents seize phone of lawyer who pushed Trump false elector claims by Devlin Barrett (“John Eastman, a lawyer who lobbied for Mike Pence to declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election, is fighting the phone seizure”) The … Continue reading