- 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: Overbreadth
PA: SW for flashlight app data on cell phone sustained
The affidavits for search warrant for this cell phone were overbroad as to what was sought lacking probable cause except for location data and use of the flashlight function. Defendant was accused of using the flashlight on his cell phone … 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
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
IA: With a judicial finding of PC, there’s no immediate right to release on bail without a bail hearing
There was probable cause for arrest involving a magistrate’s issuance of the warrant. Because there is probable cause, there’s no right to immediate release on bond under the state and federal constitutions’ bail provisions. Howsare v. Iowa Dist. Court for … Continue reading
CA6: No 4A requirement to file SW before execution
No case says that failure to file a search warrant before it is executed violates the Fourth Amendment (or state law, not that state law matters in federal court). United States v. Dixon, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 19457 (6th Cir. … Continue reading
NY Bronx: SDT for text message information was overbroad; SW should be sought instead
The court concludes a subpoena duces tecum to T-Mobile for text message information was overbroad. The court recommends the state apply for a search warrant instead. People v. Nelson, 2022 NY Slip Op 50630(U), 2022 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2968 (Bronx … Continue reading
IN: State const’l arguments have to be raised in trial court first
Defendant’s argument for a change in standing law under the state constitution that he should have the ability to challenge the search of another person’s person and clothing wasn’t raised below, so it’s waived. State v. Allen, 2022 Ind. App. … Continue reading
D.D.C.: J6 Committee’s subpoena to RNC not unreasonably overbroad
J6 Committee’s subpoena for records to the RNC does not violate the Fourth Amendment; it’s within Congress’s power. Republican National Committee v. Pelosi, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78501 (D.D.C. May 1, 2022):
NY Co.: SW for cell phone without time limitation was unreasonable
One search warrant for searching defendant’s phone with Cellebrite was without time limitation and was overbroad. People v. Gonzalez, 2022 NY Slip Op 22074, 2022 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 928 (N.Y.Co. Mar. 7, 2022). Defendant claimed his jail calls after 48 … Continue reading
CO: While trial court erred in considering officers’ subjective intent, there still wasn’t RS
“We conclude that while the trial court erred in considering the officers’ subjective intent in effectuating the seizure, it was nonetheless correct that the officers lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion to detain Brown. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s order … Continue reading
N.D.Ind.: Prior knowledge of def was RS here
The officer well knew defendant and his vehicle. “That information, combined with his recognition of Bastin as he drove by him on the highway, was enough reasonable suspicion to justify an investigatory stop, the Government contends. As for the pretext … Continue reading
N.D.Okla.: Misdemeanor arrest warrant permits forcible entry in this circuit
Plaintiff’s claim that a forcible entry for a misdemeanor warrant fails because this circuit has held for 25 years that Payton applies to misdemeanor warrants. Plaintiff does state a claim, however, for failure to knock-and-announce before entry. First v. Hokett, … Continue reading
WA: Overbroad SW was severable as to three places searched
The Washington Division of Fish and Wildlife received detailed reports of defendant brothers’ charter boats engaging in unlawful recreational fishing of halibut to skirt the daily catch limit. They put an undercover officer (a former charter boat operator) on one … Continue reading
D.Nev.: Important case: SW affidavit didn’t support the breadth of cell phone search
Defendant was arrested for sex trafficking child in a reverse sting operation, and the court finds the search warrant for his telephone lacked probable cause to search it for child pornography. “That Lofstead may have attempted to purchase commercial sex … Continue reading
GA: Minor inconsistencies between driver and passenger during stop aren’t RS
Nervousness is normal during a traffic stop. “Lastly, inconsistencies in answers to police questions do not give rise to reasonable articulable suspicion unless the inconsistencies in the car occupants’ statements are meaningful.” These weren’t, so there was no reasonable suspicion. … Continue reading
ABA: Litigation: Overbroad Searches and Seizures: Google Customer Data Stored Outside of Gmail
ABA: Litigation: Overbroad Searches and Seizures: Google Customer Data Stored Outside of Gmail, 48 Litigation 49 (No. 1, Oct. 1, 2021) by Mark Mermelstein, Sharon Frase, and Alison Epperson (“Tech giant customer data can contain most of a user’s electronic … Continue reading
CA3: SW including “any and all cell phones” could be overbroad, but not here where there were only two
“Taylor contends that the description of ‘any and all cellular telephones’ contained in this warrant is overly broad and thus lacks the requisite particularity. Although a warrant allowing seizure of ‘any and all cellular telephones’ may be overbroad, this record … Continue reading
CA10: PC doesn’t need to be decided where GFE would apply; overbroad SWs are severed
Probable cause does not have to be decided where the good faith exception would apply. The warrant was for firearm evidence and had a cell phone search provision. If the cell phone provision was overbroad, that should be severed and … Continue reading