- E.D.Mich.: Listing inventory on police report and not inventory sheet not unreasonable
- VT: Roving CBP patrol stop one mile from Canadian border violated state const. even though probably not 4A
- IL: Mere visitor present at time of SW execution could not be searched without reason
- WaPo: When the FBI seizes your messages from Big Tech, you may not know it for years
- E.D.Ky.: Sex offense victim’s uncorroborated statements supported issuance of SW for defendant’s email account
online since Feb. 24, 2003
WebPage Visits: real non-robot hits since 2010; approx. about 35,000 posts since 2003
Fourth Amendment cases,
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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: Mail and packages
The traffic stop here was reasonable even if pretextual. United States v. Brown, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155885 (W.D.Mo. July 30, 2021).* There was justification for defendant’s stop: driving 100 mph and other traffic violations. United States v. Young, 2021 … Continue reading
Moving a suspicious looking box from the FedEx conveyor belt to a back room for a dog sniff did not require reasonable suspicion nor did it deprive FedEx of custody of the box. The dog alert provided justification for a … Continue reading
E.D.N.C.: The fact the search violated the state constitution isn’t a factor on legality of the search in federal case
In a federal criminal case, the fact the search violated the state constitution isn’t a factor on legality of the search under the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Breeden, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145729 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 4, 2021). Various factors … Continue reading
Defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in FedEx packages with drugs sent to a friend’s house in the name of the friend’s deceased brother. United States v. Rose, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 20406 (4th Cir. July 9, 2021). When … Continue reading
Defendant has to show his standing to get access to the search warrant application under United States v. Pirk, 282 F. Supp. 3d 585, 594 (W.D.N.Y. 2017). United States v. Cobb, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114405 (W.D. N.Y. June 18, … Continue reading
Defendant who orchestrated delivery of a package whose name wasn’t on it as sender or recipient had standing in the package. United States v. Williams, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88747 (N.D. Ill. May 10, 2021):
CA11: Even if warrantless monitoring of a package in def’s home violated 4A, inevitable discovery applies
Even if warrantless monitoring of a package into defendant’s house violated the Fourth Amendment, inevitable discovery applies. There was an intensive investigation and time was of the essence. The exclusionary rule should not be applied. United States v. Watkins, 2020 … Continue reading
E.D.Wis.: Clerical error in attaching wrong SW to affidavit where there were more than one for def could be corrected
A clerical error in attaching the wrong affidavit to multiple search warrants for defendant’s property could be read through and corrected. As to the probable cause, the affidavits showed it and the good faith exception would apply. United States v. … Continue reading
There was reasonable suspicion for detaining this package based on the lack of veracity of the delivery and return addresses. Examination of the package in the mail sorting system was not a search or seizure. United States v. Jones, 2020 … Continue reading
“The [postal] inspector had reasonable suspicion. [¶] The inspector acted reasonably. Five signs aroused his suspicion: First, the package was from Puerto Rico, a common source of illegal cocaine shipments. Second, the package was sent by Priority Mail, a common … Continue reading
Defendant showed no reasonable expectation of privacy in a package addressed to a fake name at his address. United States v. James, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 22766 (6th Cir. July 21, 2020). Defendant failed to show that the challenged statements … Continue reading
There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in first class mail and mail with full postage from a customs search coming into the Virgin Islands. 19 C.F.R. § 145.1. Priority class mail is subject to customs inspection. United States v. … Continue reading
A person using a fictitious name to send or receive a package still has standing in the package, collecting cases on both sides. In this case, there was reasonable suspicion to divert the package in transit. United States v. Yodprasit, … Continue reading
Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights weren’t violated by corrections officers copying a letter to his mother with an admission then turning it over to law enforcement officers. He had no privacy interest in his mail that society would recognize. The claim … Continue reading
Probation officers could rely on a three-month-old list that showed defendant’s brother lived there and he was on probation. The list was not stale because there was no suggestion the brother’s tenancy was transitory. Defendant’s claim the probation search as … Continue reading
WVVA: After crackdown on pill mills, more drugs being seized by mail [this what we’ve all noticed for years]:
A priority mail box was partially open and inadequately sealed in a post office on tribal lands. A baggie of apparent methamphetamine was visible inside. The post office called the tribal police, and that officer saw it too. This was … Continue reading
W.D.La.: Shipping a FedEx package under an assumed name to an assumed name did not deprive either of standing
The court finds standing in a FedEx package that had a fictitious name of both sender and recipient. A dog sniff of the package gave probable cause. United States v. Goodin, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95071 (W.D. La. May 20, … Continue reading
S.D.Tex.: Govt’s showing def’s connection to package showed standing; USPS delay while kind of long wasn’t unreasonable or abnormal
Defendant didn’t testify at the suppression hearing, but the officer’s testimony adequately showed defendant’s standing to contest the search of his package. An alias was used, and the government’s efforts to link him to the package showed his standing. The … Continue reading