Officers received a tip that the car defendant was in had cocaine in it. They stopped the car and searched it finding nothing. Then they searched the defendant passenger finding drugs. The district court suppressed the search because the police justification of officer safety was belied by the fact they waited 45 minutes after the stop and searches of the car. There was no probable cause for the search of defendant’s person during the stop. United States v. Moore, 390 Fed. Appx. 503 (6th Cir. 2010).*
Officers were in defendant’s house for 50 minutes talking to him about child pornography on his computer, and that counseled in favor of consent. The district court credited that the officers warned him of his right to refuse consent. Defendant knew exactly what the officers were looking for. United States v. Bach, 388 Fed. Appx. 2 (1st Cir. 2010).*
The driveway of a private residence is not private within the curtilage. Officers could enter to investigate what they saw there. United States v. Alvin, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129433 (S.D. Ga. January 12, 2009).*
The screened-in porch is an area not entitled to Fourth Amendment protection. Even it it was, the officers acted reasonably when they entered to knock on the door to the house inside the porch with an arrest warrant. United States v. Bergin, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79583 (M.D. Fla. August 6, 2010):
Defendants argue that Deputy Roberts violated the Fourth Amendment when he entered the screened-in porch area to knock on the door. The Report and Recommendation correctly rejects this argument (Doc. #205, p. 29, n.6). Even in the absence of any type of warrant, officers may approach a residence and knock on the door for legitimate police purposes unconnected with a search of the premises, United States v. Taylor, 458 F.3d 1201, 1204 (11th Cir. 2006); United States v. Bervaldi, 226 F.3d 1256, 1263 (11th Cir. 2000) and may tell the suspect to exit the residence. Knight v. Jacobson, 300 F.3d 1272, 1277-78 (11th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court drew a "firm line" at the threshold of the home, not the front porch. Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 590 (1980); .... The Fourth Amendment was not violated when the officer entered the porch area, and defendants' objections to the contrary are overruled.
Alternatively, the Court will assume that the screen-enclosed front porch constituted a portion of the home to which there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, either as curtilege, United States v. Dunn, 480 U.S. 294, 300 (1987), or as a component of the house itself within the meaning of Payton. See McClish v. Nugent, 483 F.3d 1231, 1241-42 (11th Cir. 2007) (Payton created a firm line delimiting a zone of privacy defined by the "unambiguous physical dimensions of an individual's home.") The Court will further assume that the screen door to that porch was the "threshold" referred to in Payton. With these assumptions, the officer's entry into the screened-in porch was nonetheless lawful. There were two outstanding felony arrest warrants against Jason Bergin for violation of probation. The officers could lawfully enter the house to arrest defendant because there was a valid outstanding arrest warrant, the location was defendant's residence, and defendant was inside the residence. United States v. Bennett, 555 F.3d 962, 965 (11th Cir. 2009); .... Therefore, even assuming the porch is a protected portion of the residence, the entry into the porch area was nevertheless lawful.
After 12 hours of searching under a search warrant finding 65-75% of the files covered by the search warrant, the government agents seized file cabinets and left to search off premises. That off-site search took 160 hours. That was not unreasonable. United States v. Western Titanium, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79508 (S.D. Cal. August 6, 2010):
Nor does the Court believe that the removal of the file cabinets from the premises by Agent Dao demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the terms of the search warrant. Agents had already determined that 65-75% of the documents within similar file cabinets fell within the scope of the search warrant before the cabinets were removed. The off-site search of the cabinets consumed approximately 160 hours while agents reviewed the documents to determine whether they fell within the scope of the warrant. Given that significant effort was expended in attempt to comply with the terms of the search warrant, the Court does not find that the agents flagrantly disregarded the search warrant by ignoring its terms or engaging in indiscriminate fishing expeditions. Accordingly, Defendants' request for suppression of all of the documents seized pursuant to the search warrant is denied.
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"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
—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
—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!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"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."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)