D.Minn.: SW for “pornography” that “constitutes a crime” is specific enough to include CP

A search warrant for “pornography” that “constitutes a crime” is specific enough to include child pornography despite the fact that adult pornography isn’t a crime. There was also probable cause for issuance of the search warrant. United States v. Barthman, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38203 (D. Minn. Jan. 17, 2017), adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37339 (D. Minn. March 15, 2017).

“As the foregoing factual findings demonstrate, Steinmetz gave a general consent (both verbally and in writing) to a search of his residence and specifically consented to a search of his computers, external hard drives and other storage media. Steinmetz told the officers that he would “prefer” to be present during the search but did not condition consent on his presence during the search. In fact, after it was already clear to him that he would not be accompanying the officers, Steinmetz documented his verbal consent to the search of his computers by signing the permission to search form. Steinmetz also told Det. House which key to use to enter his residence after it was clear that he would not be allowed to be present for the search. In sum, the evidence as a whole supports the conclusion that the search conducted was within the scope of Steinmetz’s consent.” United States v. Steinmetz, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38681 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 7, 2017),* adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38365 (E.D. Mo. March 17, 2017).*

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E.D.Pa.: Citizen informant pointing out def face-to-face presumptively reliable

A citizen informant pointing out defendant as having a gun, right in front of him, is entitled to presumptive credibility because she exposed her knowledge to defendant and risked retaliation. United States v. Slone, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38515 (E.D. Pa. March 17, 2017).
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Posted in Informant hearsay | Comments Off

CA10: QI isn’t determined by violation of state law; has to be violation of federal law

In a fractured panel decision, the Tenth Circuit holds that federal law governs qualified immunity, not state law. Here, defendant violated clearly established state law, but the district court didn’t decide whether it violated clearly established federal law. Remanded. Stanley v. Gallegos, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4816 (10th Cir. March 17, 2017):
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Posted in Qualified immunity, § 1983 / Bivens | Comments Off

IL: Dropping bottle when officer rolled down his window and said “come here” was not in response to a seizure

Defendant abandoned bottle of cannabis by dropping it when the officer rolled down his window and said “come here.” The court spends many paragraphs agreeing with the trial court that defendant hadn’t been seized at that point because it was a mere request and not a command. The officer was in the car and displayed no weapons. People v. Qurash, 2017 IL App (1st) 143412, 2017 Ill. App. LEXIS 141 (March 16, 2017):
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Posted in Abandonment, Seizure | Comments Off

W.D.Ky.: Even if there wasn’t PC for a home search, there was RS for a parole search

Even if the officer’s showing was insufficient to show probable cause, the officer could rely on defendant’s parole search waiver for the search because the information clearly provided at least reasonable suspicion. United States v. Ickes, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38207 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 21, 2017), adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36938 (W.D. Ky. March 15, 2017):
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Posted in Probation / Parole search | Comments Off

D.Del.: Dog sniff at a storage unit not a search

A dog sniff at a storage unit didn’t violate any reasonable expectation of privacy. It isn’t the same as curtilage of the home. Defendant’s attempt to show a Franks discrepancy because he originally rented C43 but moved two weeks later to C69 is unavailing because there was no misleading here. United States v. Nasir, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36813 (D. Del. March 15, 2017).

Posted in Dog sniff, Reasonable expectation of privacy, Search | Comments Off

WaPo: ‘The Watch’ Blog: South Carolina police shot a man to pieces over $100 worth of pot, then lied about it

WaPo: ‘The Watch’ Blog: South Carolina police shot a man to pieces over $100 worth of pot, then lied about it by Radley Balko:

Prosecutors drop drug charges against Julian Betton after cops’ account of the raid that paralyzed him is disproven.
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Posted in Excessive force, Police misconduct | Comments Off

The Libertarian Republic: Rand Paul Reintroduces “FAIR Act” to Restore Respect for the 5th Amendment [in forfeitures]

The Libertarian Republic: Rand Paul Reintroduces “FAIR Act” to Restore Respect for the 5th Amendment [in forfeitures]

Kentucky conservative Senator Rand Paul reintroduced S. 642, the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act on Wednesday. The intention of the bill is to protect property owners’ rights and restore the Fifth Amendment’s role in civil forfeiture proceedings. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) has introduced companion legislation (H.R. 1555) in the U.S. House of Representatives, read an official statement from his office on Thursday….The ‘FAIR Act’ has the backing of some major organizations in politics, including Heritage Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, Institute for Justice, FreedomWorks, National Federation of Independent Business, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Drug Policy Alliance, Americans for Tax Reform, and Campaign for Liberty, according to Paul’s statement.

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S.D.Ala.: RS supported stop of defs’ boat in international waters; scuttling a sinking ship after full investigation not spoliation of evidence

The government showed reasonable suspicion to believe that defendants’ ship was engaged in drug smuggling when it was seen again off the Colombian coast heading to the U.S. along a known smuggling route. The USCG elected to scuttle the boat because it wasn’t seaworthy and was taking on water. First, they measured, videoed, and photographed all of it. The explanation is reasonable, and it’s not spoliation of evidence. United States v. Ruiz-Murillo, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37810 (S.D.Ala. March 15, 2017):
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S.D.Fla.: Pictures on def’s Instagram account corroborated CIs

Defendant’s Instagram pages allowed agents to see photographs of firearms and bottles of promethazine with codeine (“molly”) and marijuana. Defendant was already a suspected molly distributor with two prior cocaine convictions, and that substantially helped show probable cause for a warrant for his house because it corroborated CIs. United States v. Garcia, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37904 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 9, 2017), adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37905 (S.D. Fla. March 16, 2017). [Note: It’s so obvious that cell phones have been the downfall of many, MANY defendants in all kinds of cases. Why do they insist on taking pictures of their cache and then, worse yet, post it publicly.]

Posted in Informant hearsay, Probable cause | Comments Off