Defendant was on a 4-wheeler that officers followed suspecting it was stolen. He fled into the woods and finally came out. In the path where he passed was a digital camera, which he denied was his as soon as an officer noticed it and before it was asked about. All three officers testified to defendant’s volunteered statement, and this was his clear abandonment of the camera on which there was child pornography. When he was searched incident to his arrest, a memory card for a camera was found, and he had an expectation of privacy in the memory card which could not be viewed without a warrant. United States v. Jenkins, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96296 (N.D. W.Va. August 26, 2011), adopting 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96335 (N.D. W.Va. June 28, 2011).*
Officers pulled guns on defendant and told him to raise his hands, but he did not comply, so he was not seized. He finally complied. His movements toward his waist corroborated that he had a gun. Plummer v. United States, 2009 D.C. App. LEXIS 753 (November 12, 2009)* [yes, almost two years old and just on Lexis].
A well-known CI provided corroborated information and that justified defendants' stop. United States v. Chandler, 437 Fed. Appx. 420 (6th Cir. 2011)*:
In the present case, we agree with the district court that the initial stop of Profitt's vehicle fell well within the acceptable parameters of a lawful Terry stop based upon a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Indeed, the officers received detailed information from Hamilton, a known informant who had direct knowledge of Chandler's drug-related activities. Hamilton was able to predict when Chandler would leave his residence, the manner of travel, the location of the alleged narcotics transaction, and the general appearance of the supplier's vehicle. All of these predictions were thereafter confirmed by law-enforcement surveillance. In addition, the observed behavior of Chandler in quickly entering and exiting the black sedan, and the discovery of a large amount of currency in Ciers's pocket, provided further support for the brief stop of Profitt's vehicle.
Following other circuits, just because an administrative search has a mixed motive that the plaintiff tow company owner may have stolen property did not make the administrative search invalid. Rodriguez v. City of Cleveland, 439 Fed. Appx. 433 (6th Cir. 2011):
The individual defendants' pre-search suspicion that Rodriguez possessed a stolen dump truck did not render their warrantless administrative search of M & M invalid. This conclusion finds support in United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, 462 U.S. 579, 103 S. Ct. 2573, 77 L. Ed. 2d 22 (1983), where the Supreme Court concluded that customs officers had not offended the Fourth Amendment when, pursuant to a federal statute, those officers boarded a sailboat in a shipping channel and asked to see the sailboat's documentation. Id. at 580-83, 592-93. ...
In cases more factually analogous to this one, other federal circuits have concluded that an officer’s suspicion as to the presence of a stolen vehicle did not render unconstitutional the initiation of a warrantless administrative inspection of an automotive repair- or salvage-related business. For example, in Bruce v. Beary, 498 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2007), an Auto Theft Unit officer had received a complaint from an individual who had allegedly purchased a vehicle with a suspicious VIN from a particular auto body repair shop and salvage yard. Id. at 1235-36. After receiving this complaint, the officer and his supervisor set out to search the repair shop/salvage yard pursuant to a Florida statute that “permits a warrantless physical inspection of” such businesses “during normal business hours ‘for the purpose of locating stolen vehicles.’” Id. at 1236 (quoting Fla. Stat. § 812.055). In a subsequent civil rights action, the owner of the repair shop/salvage yard asserted that, “from the inception, the search of the [business] was not a routine administrative inspection, but rather an ordinary criminal raid, undertaken with suspicion of a particular crime and implemented to discover and seize evidence of that crime.” Id. at 1240. Although the Eleventh Circuit recognized “that the administrative search exception [should] not be allowed to swallow whole the Fourth Amendment,” id. at 1241, that court concluded that the inception of the warrantless administrative inspection at issue nonetheless passed constitutional muster, id. at 1242. Noting that “[t]he Supreme Court has made quite clear that an administrative search is not rendered invalid because it is accompanied by some suspicion of wrongdoing,” the Eleventh Circuit determined that the complaint the officers had received did not generate the probable cause necessary to support an application for a search warrant. Id. Lacking “direct criminal suspicion of wrongdoing,” the officers had “validly invoked their statutory authority to” search the repair shop/salvage yard. Id.
The government lacked objective evidence of a need to enter defendant’s apartment to allegedly aid potentially injured persons. There was only one injured person to anybody’s knowledge, and that person was accounted for. United States v. Delgado, 814 F. Supp. 2d 874 (E.D. Wis. 2011), rejecting in part 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96521 (E.D. Wis. June 23, 2011)*:
However, in this case, the record is devoid of any evidence that anyone within Mr. Delgado’s apartment was hurt or otherwise in need of police assistance at the time the police entered the defendant's apartment. By the time the police opted to enter the apartment in question, the only victim of a shooting that the police had any evidence existed was no longer in Mr. Delgado’s apartment, but rather had exited that apartment. The government even concedes that the police “did not know whether one or more persons ... was in the apartment in need of immediate medical help.” (Docket #13 at 5). The government has no right to enter a private residence on a mere whim that a person in need of assistance may be inside; instead, the government needs an objectively reasonable basis for entering the apartment. Fisher, 130 S. Ct. at 549. In this case, the evidence here does not show that the government had an objectively reasonable basis for entering the apartment for the purpose of rendering emergency aid.
Defendant was leaning against a car talking to officers, and one noticed packages of crack cocaine on the floorboard. That was reasonable suspicion for defendant’s patdown. United States v. Blackley, 439 Fed. Appx. 803 (11th Cir. 2011).*
Defendant was stopped by VAMC police. “Scott’s behavior, which included returning to the vehicle that was illegally parked, tossing something inside, locking the door after observing Officer Freeman approach, failing to comply with Officer Freeman’s first directive to stop, turning away from Officer Freeman, fidgeting throughout the encounter, and moving his hands around, provided ample justification for the protective frisk.” United States v. Scott, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96756 (E.D. Va. August 29, 2011).*
Orin Kerr on Volokh Conspiracy: Fourth Amendment Rights in Stolen Computers:
A few readers have flagged a new district court decision, Clements-Jeffrey v. City of Springfield, that raises an interesting Fourth Amendment question: When does a person have Fourth Amendment rights in the contents of a stolen computer? A few decisions have held that a person doesn’t have Fourth Amendment rights in the contents of a stolen computer when they know the computer was stolen: That seems correct to me, as the Fourth Amendment requires some legitimate relationship between the person and the space searched before allowing the person to have Fourth Amendment rights there. See, e.g., Minnesota v. Carter. The trickier question raised in Clements-Jeffrey is what result if the person didn’t know the laptop was stolen. Put another way, what is the mental state required to retain Fourth Amendment rights in stolen property?
|<< <||Current||> >>|
Fourth Amendment cases,
citations, and links
Latest Slip Opinions:
U.S. Supreme Court (Home)
Federal Appellate Courts Opinions
FDsys: Many district courts
FDsys: Many federal courts
Military Courts: C.A.A.F., Army, AF, N-M, CG
Advanced Google Scholar
Google search tips
LII State Appellate Courts
LexisONE free caselaw
Findlaw Free Opinions
To search Search and Seizure on Lexis.com $
Most recent SCOTUS cases:
Plumhoff v. Rickard, granted Nov. 15, argued Mar. 4 (ScotusBlog)
Stanton v. Sims, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 7773 (Nov. 4, 2013) (per curiam)
Navarette v. California, granted Oct.1, argued Jan. 21 (ScotusBlog)
Fernandez v. California, granted May 20, argued Nov. 13 (ScotusBlog)
Maryland v. King, 133 S.Ct. 1958, 186 L.Ed.2d 1 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
Missouri v. McNeeley, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 185 L.Ed.2d 696 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
Bailey v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 1031, 185 L.Ed.2d 19 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
Florida v. Harris, 133 S.Ct. 1050, 185 L.Ed.2d 61 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409, 185 L.Ed.2d 495 (2013)ScotusBlog)
Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 185 L.Ed.2d 264 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
Ryburn v. Huff, 132 S.Ct. 987, 181 L.Ed.2d 966 (2012) (other blog)
Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, 132 S.Ct. 1510, 182 L.Ed.2d 566 (2012) (ScotusBlog)
United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945, 181 L.Ed.2d 911 (2012) (ScotusBlog)
Messerschmidt v. Millender, 132 S.Ct. 1235, 182 L.Ed.2d 47 (2012) (ScotusBlog)
Kentucky v. King, 131 S.Ct. 1849, 179 L.Ed.2d 865 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
Camreta v. Greene, 131 S.Ct. 2020, 179 L.Ed.2d 1118 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 179 L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
Davis v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2419, 180 L.Ed.2d 285 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
Michigan v. Fisher, 558 U.S. 45, 130 S.Ct. 546, 175 L.Ed.2d 410 (2009) (per curiam) (ScotusBlog)
City of Ontario v. Quon, 560 U.S. 746, 130 S.Ct. 2619, 177 L.Ed.2d 216 (2010) (ScotusBlog)
Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135, 129 S.Ct. 695, 172 L.Ed.2d 496 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 129 S.Ct. 808, 172 L.Ed.2d 565 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 129 S.Ct. 781, 172 L.Ed.2d 694 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 129 S.Ct. 1710, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364, 129 S.Ct. 2633, 174 L.Ed.2d 354 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
S. Ct. Docket
Solicitor General's site
Briefs online (but no amicus briefs)
Curiae (Yale Law)
Oyez Project (NWU)
"On the Docket"–Medill
S.Ct. Monitor: Law.com
S.Ct. Com't'ry: Law.com
General (many free):
Google Scholar | Google
LexisOne Legal Website Directory
Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $
Findlaw.com (4th Amd)
FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf)
DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download)
DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf)
Congressional Research Service:
Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012)
Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012)
Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012)
Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012)
Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012)
ACLU on privacy
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.)
Section 1983 Blog
"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)