Archives for: February 2013, 09


Permalink 04:00:00 pm, by fourth, 81 words, 451 views   English (US)
Categories: General Number of Frisks Fell in ’12, Police Data Show Number of Frisks Fell in ’12, Police Data Show by Wendy Ruderman:

The number of times New York City police officers stopped, questioned and frisked people in 2012 dropped by 22 percent from the previous year, according to statistics the Police Department released on Friday.

The decrease — 533,042 in 2012, compared with about 685,000 in 2011 — came amid mounting criticism from civil-rights advocates who have argued that the practice of stop and frisk unfairly targeted minorities — the vast majority of whom were released without any charges.

Permalink 03:00:00 pm, by fourth, 108 words, 501 views   English (US)
Categories: General Debating a Court to Vet Drone Strikes Debating a Court to Vet Drone Strikes by Scott Shane:

WASHINGTON — Since 1978, a secret court in Washington has approved national security eavesdropping on American soil — operations that for decades had been conducted based on presidential authority alone.

Now, in response to broad dissatisfaction with the hidden bureaucracy directing lethal drone strikes, there is an interest in applying the model of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court — created by Congress so that surveillance had to be justified to a federal judge — to the targeted killing of suspected terrorists, or at least of American suspects.

WaPo: Lawmakers propose giving federal judges role in drone strikes, but hurdles await.

Permalink 02:34:10 pm, by fourth, 146 words, 391 views   English (US)
Categories: General DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border by David Kravets:

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

Permalink 10:00:05 am, by fourth, 284 words, 608 views   English (US)
Categories: General

GA: License plate reader alert is probable cause for stop

License-plate reader (LPR) system alert of a wanted person in a police car is probable cause for a stop. Defendant wasn’t the wanted person, but he was without a DL, and his arrest for that was valid. Hernandez-Lopez v. State, 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 41 (February 5, 2013):

The information retrieved via the LPR system is not unlike that an officer retrieves by way of running vehicle-tag numbers through GCIC, which we have previously held provides justification for an initial stop. Moreover, in an unpublished opinion, the Eleventh Circuit recently addressed use of the LPR system in the context of a case invoking the right to be free from an unreasonable search, noting that the Supreme Court of the United States has “concluded in similar contexts that visual surveillance of vehicles in plain view does not constitute an unreasonable search for Fourth Amendment purposes,” and that “[t]his is true even if the surveillance is aided by the use of technology to augment the officers' sensory faculties.” Similarly, the LPR system at issue in the case sub judice merely aided the officer by augmenting his sensory faculties, providing an enhanced ability to process tag information through a law-enforcement database rather than requiring the officer to manually conduct random checks. And the information retrieved by the system's recognition of the license-plate numbers—i.e., identifying information of a wanted person, the offense allegedly committed by the wanted person, and a photograph of the relevant license plate and vehicle—gave the officer reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify a traffic stop of the vehicle driven by Hernandez-Lopez. Thereafter, the officer had probable cause to arrest Hernandez-Lopez for driving without a license.

See United States v. Wilcox, 415 Fed. Appx. 990 (11th Cir. 2011).

Permalink 09:14:05 am, by fourth, 251 words, 537 views   English (US)
Categories: General

NY: Cursing police officer didn't justify disorderly conduct arrest and finding 25 bags of crack

Defendant with 25 bags of crack on him cursed a police officer for about 15 seconds for “harassing” him, and that led to an arrest for disorderly conduct and discovery of the drugs. Defendant was not legally disorderly justifying the arrest. People v Baker, 2013 NY Slip Op 00782 (N.Y. February 7, 2013):

Finally, this case includes one more factor worthy of consideration. Here, both at its inception and conclusion, the verbal exchange was between a single civilian and a police officer. The fact that defendant's abusive statements were directed exclusively at a police officer — a party trained to diffuse situations involving angry or emotionally distraught persons — further undermines any inference that there was a threat of public harm, particularly since the police officer was in a position of safety and could have closed his windows and ignored defendant. We do not suggest that the public harm element can never be present in such encounters; Tichenor demonstrates that this is not the case. But isolated statements using coarse language to criticize the actions of a police officer, unaccompanied by provocative acts or other aggravating circumstances, will rarely afford a sufficient basis to infer the presence of the "public harm" mens rea necessary to support a disorderly conduct charge.

After consideration of all relevant factors, we conclude that defendant's arrest for disorderly conduct was not supported by probable cause due to insufficient proof on the public harm element. Because the arrest was unlawful under our long-standing precedent, we have no occasion to address defendant's First Amendment arguments.

Permalink 09:03:22 am, by fourth, 446 words, 754 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Cal.4: Vehicle "black box" could be searched without a warrant in vehicular manslaughter case

The “black box” in a vehicle was a part of the “instrumentality of crime” in this vehicle manslaughter case, and it could be seized and searched without a search warrant. Also, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the information. People v. Diaz, 213 Cal. App. 4th 743, 153 Cal. Rptr. 3d 90 (4th Dist. 2013):

=> Read more!

Permalink 08:40:00 am, by fourth, 118 words, 448 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Cal.2: Stop for texting while driving was reasonable

Defendant’s stop for texting while driving was reasonable. People v. Corrales, 213 Cal. App. 4th 696, 152 Cal. Rptr. 3d 667 (2d Dist. 2013).*

The trial court suppressed a search of defendant’s house, but the appellate court held that the CI’s statement about drugs being sold there was corroborated by a visitor exiting who had drugs on him and lied about where he’d been. State v. Holden, 60 A.3d 1110 (Del. 2013).*

Defendant was walking away from officers ignoring them at first, so he was not seized (Hodari D.). Finally, he stopped and turned and made an exaggerated motion with his arms tossing the gun. It was lawfully seized. United States v. Davis, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6420 (E.D. Mich. January 16, 2013).*

Permalink 08:30:42 am, by fourth, 151 words, 373 views   English (US)
Categories: General

NC: State's claim of inevitable discovery requires proof, not just argument

The trial court held that inevitable discovery led to defendant’s computer getting seized, but there was no evidence that supported that, just argument. Defendant did not consent to a search of his laptop merely by telling the police where it was when they asked. That proves nothing of voluntariness. State v. Wells, __ N.C. App. __, 737 S.E.2d 179 (2013):

The State's final argument is that discovery of the laptop computer was inevitable because the laptop computer was known to be in existence and was the focal point of the investigation. We do not doubt either of the State's assertions; however, having knowledge that the laptop computer exists is entirely different than knowing where the laptop computer may be found. At the hearing on defendant's motions to suppress, no evidence was presented to the trial court to show how or when the laptop computer would have been discovered by independent lawful means.

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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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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)

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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