Archives for: December 2012, 24


Permalink 03:50:15 pm, by fourth, 182 words, 1455 views   English (US)
Categories: General

NYT Editorial: "Sneaky Apps That Track Cellphones"

NYT Editorial: Sneaky Apps That Track Cellphones:

A perversion of smartphone technology called “stalking apps” — precise, secretive trackings of the movements of cellphone users — is increasingly a matter of national concern, particularly for domestic abuse victims. No less threatening is the routine monitoring of children’s locales and phone habits for commercial purposes while parents are kept in the dark. Stealth apps even stoop to cyber-leering through the now notorious app called Girls Around Me, which allows men to search out women, unbeknown to them, by cross-matching GPS technology with information and photo sites like Facebook.

With these abuses proliferating, the Senate Judiciary Committee this month took a big step to protect the privacy of all cellphone users and close legal loopholes that enable stalking apps. The committee approved a worthy measure sponsored by Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, that for the first time would require cellphone companies to obtain a user’s permission to collect location data and sell it or share it with third parties. It also would flatly outlaw creation of stalking apps, applying criminal and civil penalties.

Permalink 07:59:46 am, by fourth, 504 words, 804 views   English (US)
Categories: General

CA6 is troubled by 3 weeks of constant video surveillance of backyard under Jones but finds it harmless

The Sixth Circuit is troubled by three weeks of constant video surveillance of defendant’s backyard by a pole camera in light of Jones and its trespass holdings. “We are inclined to agree with the Fifth Circuit that ‘[t]his type of surveillance provokes an immediate negative visceral reaction.’” Nevertheless, the court finds the error, possible error harmless and doesn’t have to decide it. United States v. Anderson-Bagshaw, 509 Fed.Appx. 396 (6th Cir. 2012):

=> Read more!

Permalink 12:20:54 am, by fourth, 626 words, 1280 views   English (US)
Categories: General

TN: DNA profile in John Doe arrest warrant was particular for Fourth Amendment and tolled SOL

A woman lawyer was the target of a home invasion and aggravated attempted rape in 1994 in Nashville. She struggled with the assailant who beat her head, and she bit off a piece of skin on his finger, spitting it under the bed. He left. In 2000, a DNA profile was run on the piece of the finger, and the DHA description was included in a John Doe warrant as a specific identifier. In 2006, the grand jury indicted John Doe. In 2008, a likely fingerprint match was made off the piece of the finger with defendant who had applied for a job at the DOC. Once police had a likely candidate for a suspect, a match on a palm print was made and the police then sought a DNA sample, and that matched the defendant. He was charged, tried, and convicted. A John Doe warrant with a DNA description was sufficiently particular under the Fourth Amendment, and the statute of limitations was properly tolled. State v. Burdick, 395 S.W.3d 120 (Tenn. 2012), aff’g State v. Burdick, 2011 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 886 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 2, 2011):

Several jurisdictions have addressed the issue since [Wisconsin] in Dabney [State v. Dabney, 2003 WI App 108, 264 Wis. 2d 843, 663 N.W.2d 366 (2003)], and most have concluded that inclusion or reference to a unique DNA profile in a "John Doe" arrest warrant or indictment sufficiently describes a person to satisfy statutory requirements. In State v. Danley, the Ohio Court of Common Pleas cited Dabney with approval and held that an affidavit of complaint and arrest warrant against "John Doe," which identified the suspect by gender and a DNA profile, was sufficient to commence the criminal action, thereby tolling the statute of limitations. 2006 Ohio 3585, 853 N.E.2d 1224, 1226-28 (Ohio Ct. Com. Pl. 2006). More recently, in People v. Robinson, the California Supreme Court ruled that an arrest warrant that described the suspect only as "John Doe, unknown male" with a unique 13-loci DNA profile adequately identified the defendant under both the Fourth Amendment and California's statutory scheme, thus timely commencing the prosecution. 47 Cal. 4th 1104, 104 Cal. Rptr. 3d 727, 224 P.3d 55, 75-76 (Cal. 2010). Finally, in Dixon, the Massachusetts Supreme Court observed that a DNA profile is more than a description; "it is, metaphorically, an indelible 'bar code' that labels an individual's identity with nearly irrefutable precision." 938 N.E.2d at 885 (citing NRC at 2, 7, 9). Consequently, that court held that a "John Doe" indictment incorporating the suspect's unique DNA profile and additional physical description "unassailably fulfil[led] the constitutional requirement that an indictment provide 'words of description which have particular reference to the person whom the Commonwealth seeks to convict,'" sufficiently identified the defendant, and tolled the statute of limitations. Id. at 885-86.

. . .

We are persuaded that a DNA profile exclusively identifies an accused with nearly irrefutable precision and, as a general rule, satisfies the particularity requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution. In our view, the "John Doe" designation in the warrant at issue, coupled with the detailed DNA profile of the assailant, identified the Defendant with "reasonable certainty," as is required by both constitution and statute. See U.S. Const. amend. IV; Tenn. Const. art. I, § 7; Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-6-208; Tenn. R. Crim. P. 4(c)(1)(B). As a result, the prosecution was properly and timely commenced within the eight-year statute of limitations by the filing of the "John Doe" arrest warrant on February 2, 2000.

. . .

IV. Conclusion

A criminal prosecution is commenced if, within the statute of limitations for a particular offense, a warrant is issued identifying the defendant by gender and his or her unique DNA profile. Furthermore, a superseding indictment in the defendant's proper name provides the requisite notice of the charge. The judgment of conviction is, therefore, affirmed.

Permalink 12:10:20 am, by fourth, 190 words, 510 views   English (US)
Categories: General

E.D.Pa.: Even disregarding a misleading paragraph in the SW application there was still PC

Officers conducted a protective sweep and saw ammunition in plain view. They also had enough to seek a search warrant, and they did, including the reference to the ammunition. There was a misleading paragraph in the affidavit. Excising it and the reference to the ammunition, there was still probable cause for issuance of the search warrant, and the motion to suppress is denied. United States v. Torres, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179774 (E.D. Pa. December 19, 2012).*

Defendant’s 2255 claim that his criminal defense lawyer failed to object to the search of the car he was in was vague and conclusory. From the court’s own review of the record, defendant likely lacked standing to challenge the search of the car which was with probable cause based on the testimony at trial. Therefore, the lawyer couldn’t be ineffective. United States v. McIntyre, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179957 (D. Kan. December 17, 2012).*

Defense counsel fully argued the Fourth Amendment in the District Court and then appealed it to the Fifth Circuit, so there he is barred from relitigating it by collateral estoppel. Castille v. United States, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180871 (W.D. Tex. December 20, 2012).

Permalink 12:02:26 am, by fourth, 179 words, 510 views   English (US)
Categories: General

E.D.Pa.: Car subject to search for PC could be moved before the search for safety purposes

The search of defendant’s car was justified by the automobile exception with probable cause or the search incident doctrine although the car was moved before the search to the police station. Defendant was stopped on a street, and a crowd had begun to form. It was within the officers’ discretion to move the car for the search for officer safety. United States v. Thompson, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179981 (E.D. Pa. December 20, 2012).

Defendant was stopped for not wearing a seatbelt, and the officer took his DL back to the patrol car for a computer check which took eight minutes. By then backup arrived, and the officer got out and asked about drugs. That additional questioning was supported by furtive movements in the car and defendant’s brother being a known gang member. On review by the District Court, the stop was broken down into five parts, and each supported the next and overall was reasonable. United States v. Marin-Sanchez, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180226 (E.D. Wis. December 20, 2012), R&R 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180224 (E.D. Wis. November 27, 2012).*

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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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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)

Research Links:
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  FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf)
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  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
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  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 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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