Defendant and three others were stopped for speeding in a residential area known for its recent burglaries. In the back seat was a big screen TV. “The Court finds that Deputy Braden’s initial questions about the television did not extend the duration of the traffic stop.” The drug dog was used on the car in three minutes. United States v. Robinson, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185389 (E.D. Tenn. December 26, 2012).*
Defendant was pacing back and forth around the dumpster behind a closed business in a high crime area. The officer approached, and asked him what he was doing, asking whether he was armed. He said he was and he pulled out the gun. With it came a baggie of drugs. The finding of the drugs was not unlawful because defendant’s producing the gun was by consent and reasonable suspicion wasn’t required. Carter v. State, 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 30 (January 31, 2013).*
If the officer knows the defendant is a felon, then the incriminating nature of a gun in his possession is “immediately apparent” for plain view. United States v. Walker, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185388 (E.D. Tenn. December 27, 2012).
Defendant was arrested for FIPF. Officers with an arrest warrant went to a house in the early morning hours and saw two men in chairs in the yard, apparently asleep. In defendant’s lap was a gun. Officers took the gun and handcuffed him. The gun’s serial number and defendant’s identity would have been run in any event, and that was inevitable discovery, even if the gun was illegally seized. United States v. Mohammed, 512 Fed. Appx. 583 (6th Cir. 2013).*
Questions to a stopped motorist about the purpose of their trip all occurred within four minutes and did not unreasonably extend the stop. United States v. Santellana, 920 F. Supp. 2d 712 (W.D. La. 2013).*
Slate.com: New Report Warns That Drones Could Be Used for Stalking, Voyeurism by Ryan Gallagher:
The sight of a drone in flight is likely to become a regular occurrence in the United States within the next few years. But the rise of unmanned technology could lead to new crimes like “drone stalking” and “drone trespassing,” lawmakers are being told.
A Congressional Research Service report published Wednesday, Integration of Drones Into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues, sets out the many contentious areas around unmanned aircraft. It cautions that in the future, as drones become more easily available to private citizens, we may see the technology used to commit various offences. This could mean neighbors using drones to infiltrate one another’s gardens as a means of harassment, or a voyeur using one strapped with a camera and microphone to photograph women and listen in on people’s conversations.
Allegations of a gun in a backpack at school permit a search of the backpack, even if the backpack was removed from the possession of the student. “[T]he scope of a permissible school-safety search is determined by what is reasonable under the perceived circumstances, which, in turn, depends on the nature of the safety threat. [T.L.O.] at 392 n 5.’ For example, a ‘reasonable suspicion that the person searched is carrying a rifle’ would ‘not ordinarily be sufficient to justify a strip search of the person or a search of the person’s wallet.’ Id.” In re A. J. C., 2013 Ore. App. LEXIS 122 (January 30, 2013):
Here, Smith was confronted with an immediate threat both to a named student and to the general safety of the school. As noted, Glader told Smith that, in addition to V, youth might have threatened other, unidentified students. Smith did not know the type or size of the gun that youth reportedly had brought to school or the manner in which youth possessed it. That is, Smith did not know whether youth was carrying the gun on his person, had the gun in his backpack, or had concealed it somewhere else inside the school. Thus, Smith was faced with the choice of returning the unopened backpack to youth, his mother, or the family friend, searching elsewhere in the school, or searching youth's person. Smith chose to search the backpack, and, in light of the other options, that choice was reasonable; it was the most likely to reveal a gun and dissipate the safety threat without further intrusions or delay. For those reasons, in light of the nature of the safety threat, Smith's decision to search youth's backpack was reasonable.
See DARPA's 1.8 gigapixel drone camera is a high-res Fourth Amendment lawsuit waiting to happen by Joshua Kopstein. A lawsuit may happen, but will it win?
Can an analogy be drawn between Kyllo’s thermal imaging technology and a 1.8 gigapixel camera? (1,800 megapixel; an iPhone 5 has an 8 megapixel camera.) Tough question. A camera like that only shows the curtilage, and that's visible from any low-flying airplane. Kyllo showed something inside the house.
In the three fly-over cases in SCOTUS, Ciraolo and Riley involved “naked eye” observations at 1,000' from an airplane and 400' from a helicopter. Neither bothered the Court. Dow Chemical, on the other hand, involved “a standard floor-mounted, precision aerial mapping camera, to take photographs of the facility from altitudes of 12,000, 3,000, and 1,200 feet.”
Has technology overridden the reasonable expectation of privacy with a 1.8 gp camera, or does it fall within Dow Chemical's “precision aerial mapping camera” yet even beyond exotic thermal imaging of the home? But, remember, it's the curtilage being shown, not the interior of the house. How long has satellite imaging been around? How long has Google Maps shown our backyard to the world? See Kyllo, at 33-34:
The present case involves officers on a public street engaged in more than naked-eye surveillance of a home. We have previously reserved judgment as to how much technological enhancement of ordinary perception from such a vantage point, if any, is too much. While we upheld enhanced aerial photography of an industrial complex in Dow Chemical, we noted that we found "it important that this is not an area immediately adjacent to a private home, where privacy expectations are most heightened," 476 U. S., at 237, n. 4 (emphasis in original).
It would be foolish to contend that the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been entirely unaffected by the advance of technology. For example, as the cases discussed above make clear, the technology enabling human flight has exposed to public view (and hence, we have said, to official observation) uncovered portions of the house and its curtilage that once were private. See Ciraolo, supra, at 215. The question we confront today is what limits there are upon this power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.
Kyllo was 12 years ago. Since activities inside of a house aren't shown, I don't think it's unconstitutional under the three cases already decided.
Student Press Law Center: School cellphone searches test boundaries of students’ Fourth Amendment rights by Frank LoMonte:
It happened last week at an upstate New York high school, where a 14-year-old boy and his girlfriend are now under criminal investigation after a school principal discovered “inappropriate” photos of the girl while searching the boy’s cellphone.
Is this legal? Are there limits to how deeply a school can intrude into a student’s electronic notes, messages and photos?
Despite what many school and law-enforcement officials may insist, the Fourth Amendment very much exists on school grounds. The Supreme Court reaffirmed as recently as 2009 that it’s possible for a school search to go too far, if a search is highly intrusive and is unsupported by reasonable grounds for suspicion.
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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)