Archives for: May 2012, 12


Permalink 08:25:18 am, by fourth, 144 words, 496 views   English (US)
Categories: General

IA: Community caretaking function did not justify stop for minor damage from striking object in road

Defendant’s stop for allegedly having struck an object in the roadway that did not affect the drivability of the car was unjustified. State v. Kurth, 813 N.W.2d 270 (Iowa 2012):

This case presents the question whether an officer is justified in activating his emergency lights and blocking a driver into a parking space under the "community caretaking function" exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment based solely upon his knowledge that the vehicle has just struck an object in the roadway and suffered minor damage not affecting the drivability of the car. We conclude that under these circumstances, the community caretaking exception is inapplicable, and the seizure was impermissible. For this reason, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand this case.

Tinted license plate cover was probable cause for a stop. State v. Tyler, 817 N.W.2d 495 (Iowa App. 2012).*

Permalink 08:10:56 am, by fourth, 365 words, 3853 views   English (US)
Categories: General

OH8: Four armed officers who moved toward open door in a knock-and-talk was coercive of consent

Four armed police officers and two security officers at the door for a knock-and-talk who moved forward when the door was opened was a coercive show of force making the consent involuntary. State v. Clark, 2012 Ohio 2058, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 1806 (8th Dist. May 10, 2012):

[*P21] While accepting the trial court's findings of fact as true, we find that upon considering these factors, the totality of the circumstances in this case demonstrates that Clark did not voluntarily consent to the officers' entry into and search of his apartment. The record reflects that four police officers and two uniformed security officers were waiting for Clark when he opened his apartment door. Even discounting Clark's testimony that one of the officers had his gun drawn, we find the presence of six officers immediately outside Clark's apartment door to be an overwhelming show of force that was inherently coercive, especially if, as Det. Kreischer testified, the purpose of a "knock and talk" is simply to "engage a suspect in conversation."

[*P22] The record also reflects that when Clark opened the door, the officers immediately surged forward into the doorjamb, making it impossible for Clark to shut the door. This tactic could only be meant to intimidate Clark into letting the police into his apartment so they could observe any contraband, consistent with Det. Carpenter's testimony that the real purpose of a "knock and talk" is to develop probable cause and make an arrest.

. . .

[*P24] Based on the foregoing, we can only conclude that under the totality of the circumstances, any consent was the result of coercive police tactics, and not voluntarily given. "'Consent' that is the product of official intimidation or harassment is not consent at all. Citizens do not forfeit their constitutional rights when they are coerced to comply with a request that they would prefer to refuse." Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 438, 111 S.Ct. 2382, 115 L.Ed.2d 389 (1991). Therefore, any evidence obtained as a result of the warrantless entry into and search of Clark's apartment should have been suppressed as tainted fruit of the poisonous tree and, accordingly, the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress. Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963).

Permalink 08:01:57 am, by fourth, 220 words, 472 views   English (US)
Categories: General

TN: Evasive driving with belief driver regularly possessed drugs was reasonable suspicion

The officer had information about defendant usually being in possession of drugs when he was driving in town, and the officer saw him. Once the officer started following, defendant’s driving pattern of going in circles suggested evasion. Defendant tossed drugs when the lights came on and Tennessee law favors the defendant on that, but the existence of reasonable suspicion makes the stop reasonable. State v. Gibson, 2012 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 289 (May 8, 2012)*:

Additionally, we are compelled to address the State's and the trial court's mistaken reliance on California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 111 S. Ct. 1547, 113 L. Ed. 2d 690 (1991), and State v. Baker, 966 S.W.2d 429 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997), for the proposition that Gibson could not challenge the admissibility of the drugs he dropped out of the car after O'Dell turned on his blue lights. The Tennessee Supreme Court has rejected the holding of Hodari D., making it, and our previous cases relying on it, inapplicable here. See State v. Randolph, 74 S.W.3d 330, 337 (Tenn. 2002).

The officer had probable cause to stop the defendant for DUI. State v. Padgett, 2012 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 291 (May 9, 2012).*

Defendant was stopped for following too close, and the driver exhibited signs he was under the influence of marijuana. Ultimately, a dog alerted. People v. Wofford, 969 N.E.2d 383, 2012 IL App (5th) 100138 (2012), Motion to Publish Granted May 9, 2012.*

Permalink 12:01:11 am, by fourth, 242 words, 504 views   English (US)
Categories: General

New law review article: "Suspicionless Searches of Public School Students: An Empirical Legal Analysis"

New law review article: Suspicionless Searches of Public School Students: An Empirical Legal Analysis by Jason P. Nance forthcoming in the U. Colo. L. Rev. Abstract:

This Article presents an original empirical legal analysis of recent data from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Survey on Crime and Safety. The results of the analysis suggest that many public schools are violating students’ civil rights by conducting suspicionless, intrusive searches without valid justifications, such as having particularized evidence of a drug or weapons problem. Furthermore, the data indicate that many school officials may be using illegitimate criteria – most notably race – to determine whether to conduct those searches. For example, in schools that did not report any student violations relating to weapons, alcohol or drugs during the school year, schools with high minority populations were more than twice as likely to perform suspicionless, intrusive searches than schools with low minority populations. These findings hold true even when taking into account schools officials’ perceptions of the levels of crime where students live and where the school is located. The results underscore the importance of requiring school officials to provide particularized, objective evidence of a drug or weapons problem to justify these searches under the Fourth Amendment. Performing such searches without sufficient justification violates a fundamental civil right in the very institution where children should be educated about good citizenship. Schools cannot expect students to learn important constitutional principles when school authorities disregard them.

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by John Wesley Hall
Criminal Defense Lawyer and
  Fourth Amendment consultant
Little Rock, Arkansas
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Most recent SCOTUS cases:
2009 to date:

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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  FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf)
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  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)

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  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 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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