Archives for: March 2012, 03


Permalink 08:58:14 am, by fourth, 707 words, 475 views   English (US)
Categories: General

D.Md. follows majority and does not require PC for historical cell site location data

This district court follows the majority and does not require probable cause for historical cell site location data. United States v. Graham, 846 F. Supp. 2d 384 (D. Md. 2012):

Some courts, most notably the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of Texas, have concluded that, under certain circumstances, applications seeking cell site location data must be granted only after a showing of probable cause, and not the lower statutory standard of "specific and articulable facts" contained in the Stored Communications Act. See, e.g., In re Application of the United States, 809 F. Supp. 2d 113 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (Garaufis, J.); In re Application of the United States, 747 F. Supp. 2d 827 (S.D. Tex. 2010) (Smith, Mag. J.), appeal docketed, No. 11-20554 (5th Cir. Dec. 14, 2011); In re Application of the United States, 736 F. Supp. 2d 578 (E.D.N.Y. 2010) (Orenstein, Mag. J.), rev'd No. 10-MC-0550 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 29, 2011) (unpublished order noting written opinion to follow). Those courts have essentially held that a government application for cell site location records does not implicate the Fourth Amendment if the request is for a discrete, and relatively short period of time. Compare In re Application, 736 F. Supp. 2d at 578-79 (application requesting cell site location data for a period of 58 days required warrant based on probable cause); In re Application, 747 F. Supp. 2d at 829 (60 days), with In re Application of the United States, No. 11-MC-0113, 2011 WL 679925, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 6, 2011) (application for a period of 21 days required only specific and articulable facts, and not probable cause). In other words, those courts have concluded that the Fourth Amendment is only implicated when the government surveillance of historical cell site location data occurs over a sufficiently long—albeit undefined—period of time so as to implicate a person's legitimate expectation of privacy. None of these decisions have explicitly defined the length of time at which a request for cell site location data must be supported by probable cause, but Magistrate Judge Orenstein of the Eastern District of New York suggested that thirty days might be an appropriate limit. See In re Application, 2011 WL 679925, at *2.

A majority of courts, on the other hand, have concluded that the acquisition of historical cell site location data pursuant to the Stored Communications Act's specific and articulable facts standard does not implicate the Fourth Amendment, regardless of the time period involved. See, e.g., United States v. Dye, No. 10CR221, 2011 WL 1595255, at *9 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 27, 2011); United States v. Velasquez, No. 08-730-WHA, 2010 WL 4286276, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 22, 2010); United States v. Benford, No. 09 CR 86, 2010 WL 1266507, at *3 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 26, 2010); United States v. Suarez-Blanca, No. 07-023-MHS/AJB, 2008 WL 4200156, at *8-11 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 21, 2008); In re Application of the United States, 509 F. Supp. 2d 76, 80-81 (D. Mass. 2007). These courts have primarily relied on a line of Supreme Court cases construing the scope of Fourth Amendment rights relating to business records held by third parties. More specifically, these courts have concluded that because people voluntarily convey their cell site location data to their cellular providers, they relinquish any expectation of privacy over those records. See Suarez-Blanca, 2008 WL 4200156, at *8 (finding no expectation of privacy in records kept by third parties) (citing, inter alia, Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743-44 (1979); United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435, 442-44 (1976)).

For the following reasons, this Court concludes that the Defendants in this case do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the historical cell site location records acquired by the government. These records, created by cellular providers in the ordinary course of business, indicate the cellular towers to which a cellular phone connects, and by extension the approximate location of the cellular phone. While the implications of law enforcement's use of this historical cell site location data raise the specter of prolonged and constant government surveillance, Congress in enacting the Stored Communications Act, has chosen to require only "specific and articulable facts" in support of a government application for such records. Put simply, the Fourth Amendment, as currently interpreted, does not contemplate a situation where government surveillance becomes a "search" only after some specified amount of time.

[Sorry, it was too hard to use Google Scholar to locate all of them. I don't have that much time.]

Permalink 07:48:05 am, by fourth, 424 words, 441 views   English (US)
Categories: General

N.D.N.C.: District court reviews de novo only those portions of a magistrate judge's R&R to which objections are filed

When defendant refused to be “seized” and ran away, he obviously felt free to leave. Also, “[t]he district court reviews de novo only those portions of a magistrate judge's R&R to which objections are filed.” There is no de novo review to that which the defendant does not object. United States v. Huckabee, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24491 (N.D. N.C. February 27, 2012):*

The district court reviews de novo only those portions of a magistrate judge's M&R to which objections are filed. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court does not perform a de novo review of those portions to which a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). Absent a specific and timely objection, the court reviews only for "clear error," and need not give any explanation for adopting the M&R. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Upon careful review of the record, "the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

. . .

Detective Hunter did not seize defendant when she attempted to question him near the side of the road. After Detectives Becker and Hunter pulled to the side of the road, Detective Hunter approached defendant from the front and asked, in a conversational tone, if she could talk to him. Defendant responded aggressively by saying, "Who the [expletive omitted] are you? You don't know me." Detective Hunter identified herself as a police detective and again asked if she could talk to him. Defendant again responded, "You don't know me," and then fled. The entire encounter lasted about five seconds.

Under these factual circumstances, a reasonable person would have felt himself free to leave. Detective Hunter did not physically contact defendant, nor was her questioning of him intimidating. Her firearm was holstered, and she did not accuse defendant of any criminal activity. Based on these circumstances, a reasonable person would have felt himself free to go about his business. Further, even if Detective Hunter's conduct could somehow be construed as an assertion of authority, defendant never submitted. Rather, he attempted to flee. As stated above, "[a] defendant who flees the police in response to an assertion of authority has not been seized, and thus his Fourth Amendment rights are not implicated." Brown, 401 F.3d at 594.

Permalink 07:27:06 am, by fourth, 142 words, 403 views   English (US)
Categories: General

W.D.Okla.: IAC claim of failure to investigate apparent authority wouldn't change the outcome

2255 petitioner’s claim that his defense lawyer failed to fully investigate the apparent authority of the consenter to consent would have added nothing and the motion to suppress still would have been denied. United States v. Livingston, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25558 (W.D. Okla. February 28, 2012).

Even if the curtilage were entered (it wasn’t), purging that information from the affidavit for the search warrant would not nullify the probable cause. Defendant carries the burden on the GFE, and he fails. United States v. Simmons, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25615 (D. Me. February 28, 2012).*

2255 petitioner’s Fourth Amendment claim was time barred, and he couldn’t get in the back door via a writ of error coram nobis. Also, WECN is only available if the petitioner is not in custody, and he was. Johnson v. United States, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26522 (E.D. Mo. February 28, 2012).*

Permalink 07:04:25 am, by fourth, 181 words, 371 views   English (US)
Categories: General

W.D. Tex.: Officer's use of "please" and normal tone of voice showed consent

Officer’s queries with “please” and normal tone of voice, all recorded during the stop of defendant at the El Paso interstate bus terminal, showed defendant’s consent to a search of his person for drugs strapped to him was voluntary. The court concludes it was not an order. United States v. Trujillo, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26580 (W.D. Tex. February 29, 2012).*

Defendant’s conduct was suspicious around a car and indicated either theft, drug dealing, or a car jacking. When the officer stopped with lights, defendant attempted to back away. All this was more than a hunch of criminal activity. United States v. Bady, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26265 (S.D. Ill. February 29, 2012).*

Defendant’s 2255 claim that defense counsel failed to raise a racial motivation issue based on something the officer said during the stop is belied by the DVD of the stop. Defendant’s plea deal to a five year max was a huge benefit, considering where he would have fallen on the guidelines if the government pursued his priors. United States v. Curry, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25803 (D. Neb. February 29, 2012).*

Permalink 06:49:57 am, by fourth, 87 words, 409 views   English (US)
Categories: General

CA4: Consent to search person for drugs had to mean pockets, too

Defendant had to understand that a search of his person for drugs would mean going into the pockets. United States v. Stinson, 468 Fed. Appx. 285 (4th Cir. 2012) (unpublished).*

33 minute delay in the stop here was reasonable and caused by the language barrier and waiting for an interpreter to arrive. United States v. Hernandez-Coria, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24624 (D. Minn. January 25, 2012).*

Defendant was stopped in a taxicab, and marijuana was seen in plain view. People v Souffrant, 2012 NY Slip Op 1521, 93 A.D.3d 885, 939 N.Y.S.2d 190 (3d Dept. 2012).*

Permalink 06:26:13 am, by fourth, 278 words, 381 views   English (US)
Categories: General

MA: Informant wasn't supported for patdown

A defendant told he’s going to be frisked is “seized.” Here, the record is devoid of any factual justification for the frisk based on what “other people” said. If they were informants, there was no showing of basis of knowledge or any reason to be truthful. Commonwealth v. Arias, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 342, 963 N.E.2d 100 (2012)*:

Here, the record reveals nothing about the informants' basis of knowledge or veracity. Hart and Halloran, the MBTA employees who told the police about the defendant, expressly stated that they were passing on information they had obtained from "other people" but said nothing about who the other people were and provided no information about the other people that would enable anyone to determine either their veracity or basis of knowledge. In that regard, we treat the individuals who gave information to Hart and Halloran as unknown informants even though police knew their identities by the time of the hearing. ... Nothing in the record suggests that the police knew who the informants were before they arrested the defendant or that they had any idea how the informants knew of the gun. Moreover, information obtained from known informants receives somewhat greater weight than that received from anonymous informants because known informants expose themselves to "charge[s] of filing a false report or any comparable consequence of providing false information to law enforcement." Commonwealth v. Mubdi, 456 Mass. 385, 397, 923 N.E.2d 1004 (2010). See Commonwealth v. Costa, 448 Mass. 510, 515-517, 862 N.E.2d 371 (2007). Here, the informants faced no such consequences when they made their disclosures to Hart or Halloran. Indeed, nothing in the record suggests that they even knew that Hart or Halloran would relay their information to authorities.

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by John Wesley Hall
Criminal Defense Lawyer and
  Fourth Amendment consultant
Little Rock, Arkansas
Contact / The Book
Search and seizure law consulting

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2013-14 Term:
  Riley v. California, granted Jan.17, argued Apr. 29 (ScotusBlog)
  United States v. Wurie, granted Jan.17, argued Apr. 29 (ScotusBlog)
  Plumhoff v. Rickard, granted Nov. 15, argued Mar. 4 (ScotusBlog)
  Stanton v. Sims, 134 S.Ct. 3, 187 L. Ed. 2d 341 (Nov. 4, 2013) (per curiam)
  Navarette v. California, granted Oct.1, argued Jan. 21 (ScotusBlog)
  Fernandez v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1126, 188 L. Ed. 2d 25 (Feb. 25) (ScotusBlog)

2012-13 Term:
  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)

2011-12 Term:
  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)

2010-11 Term:
  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)

2009-10 Term:

  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)

2008-09 Term:
  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)

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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 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!”
Pepé Le Pew

"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
Malcolm Forbes

"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)


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