- NJ: Computer return of car owner’s suspended DL justified stop, but it had to end when it was obvious driver was not owner
- GA: 2022 SW for cell phone illegally searched in 2020 had no independent basis; no GFE
- N.D.Ga.: UPS a private searcher, even with its “good-Samaritan motivation”
- Techstory: Cellphone Border Searches: Feds, You’ll Need a Warrant
- D.Nev.: Affidavits for SWs don’t have to prove the underlying crimes
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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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Daily Archives: March 11, 2023
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
E.D.La.: No standing in car with stolen LP and no explanation for why driving it
“The Government, however, also provided evidence that the vehicle is not titled to Duncan and had a stolen license plate, arguing that these facts in conjunction establish that while Duncan possessed the vehicle, there is nothing to suggest he did … Continue reading
NJ: Analysis of “unforeseeable and spontaneous” PC for application of the NJ automobile exception is case-by-case
Analysis of “unforeseeable and spontaneous” probable cause for application of the automobile exception in New Jersey is case-by-case. State v. Smart, 2023 N.J. LEXIS 208 (Mar. 8, 2023):
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
IA: Violation of knock-and-announce statute requires suppression
When the target of an arrest warrant opens the door, state statute requires announcement and not just barging in. Here, defendant was compliant and opened the door. The officers needed to announce their purpose. The alleged plain view inside is … Continue reading
IA: Dashcam video not conclusive evidence of justification for stop
The dashcam video of defendant’s stop wasn’t all that clear, and the trial court credited the officer’s testimony defendant drove some on the wrong side of the road at night in snowy conditions. That’s entitled to deference, as are reasonable … Continue reading
TX: Totality of circumstances applies to exigency on warrantless seizure of cell phone
“Rather than announcing a categorical rule that police may never seize personal property simply because a criminal suspect knows he is a suspect, the court of appeals should have analyzed under the totality of the circumstances whether law enforcement’s seizure … Continue reading
S.D.Cal.: Police declining to search on wife’s consent could follow her to spot and watch her do it without it being govt action
Under the two-part test, the Court finds that Ms. Valenzuela was not functioning as a government instrument at the time of her [*17] search. As to the first prong, the Chula Vista officers clearly “knew of” Ms. Valenzuela’s actions because … Continue reading