- OR: For particularity in electronic devices, specify what will be found
- W.D.N.C.: Traffic stop for expired tags went right to criminal history and was overlong
- ID rejects “reasonable mistake of law” and Heien under state constitution; state’s exclusionary rule is broader
- CA6: Even if harassment was a basis to exclude a parole search, it wasn’t shown here
- ID: Drug dog putting feet on car door and window during stiff was a trespass on the chattel and the search should have been suppressed
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by John Wesley Hall
Criminal Defense Lawyer and
Search and seizure law consultant
Little Rock, Arkansas
Contact: forhall @ aol.com / The Book
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
“I am still learning.”
—Domenico Giuntalodi (but misattributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti (common phrase throughout 1500's)).
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers."
—Charles Dickens, “The Old Curiosity Shop ... With a Frontispiece. From a Painting by Geo. Cattermole, Etc.” 255 (1848)
"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!”"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."
---Pepé Le Pew
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)
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Category Archives: Emergency / exigency
D.N.M.: Three days of warrantless real time CSLI was reasonable because of exigency
Three days of real time CSLI was obtained by the police because of a missing child, and it was reasonable as exigency. United States v. Torres, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44017 (D.N.M. Mar. 15, 2023).* No qualified immunity for Tasing … Continue reading
S.D.Ind.: 911 response to stabbing call had report of others inside; that was exigency
The officer arrived at plaintiff’s house because of a 911 call about a stabbing. A man who had been stabbed was outside and he said it happened inside and there were others. That justified the officer’s entry into the house. … Continue reading
TX: Totality of circumstances applies to exigency on warrantless seizure of cell phone
“Rather than announcing a categorical rule that police may never seize personal property simply because a criminal suspect knows he is a suspect, the court of appeals should have analyzed under the totality of the circumstances whether law enforcement’s seizure … Continue reading
GA: Police reentry into hotel room after medical emergency required SW
Officers responded to a medical emergency at a hotel room. They left and reentered to seize contraband, and the reentry required a warrant. The exigency had passed. State v. Wood, 2023 Ga. App. LEXIS 101 (Feb. 28, 2023). The suppression … Continue reading
S.D.Tex.: Exigency still remained for a second protective sweep of the premises
Enough exigency still remained for a second protective sweep of the premises. United States v. Beard, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29007 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 22, 2023). Collective knowledge from another police department can be relied up to show probable cause. … Continue reading
VA: No exigency on police arrival at a “disorderly” call; entry unreasonable
“When the police arrived in response to the ‘disorderly’ call, there was no ongoing disorderly conduct or any indication of any other ongoing crime. Dickens appeared unharmed when she first opened the door to Officer Thornton’s knock, and she said … Continue reading
CA6: Water heard running in hotel room bathroom supported exigency for avoiding destruction of evidence
Water heard running in the bathroom of a hotel room justified entry to avoid potential destruction of evidence. United States v. Hill, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 785 (6th Cir. Jan. 11, 2023). Defendant’s Franks challenge doesn’t undermine the two critical … Continue reading
GA: Generalizations and experience do not support no-knock warrant
The no-knock provision in this search warrant was not based on a showing of necessity based on this case. It was based on experience and generalities. [In addition, defendant was supposedly standing in the front yard, so what about the … Continue reading
NJ: Opening a car door is a search
Opening a car door is a search. State v. Gray, 2022 N.J. Super. LEXIS 144 (Dec. 20, 2022). “In sum, the Court finds it is clear that Officer Spain’s purpose in opening Defendant’s door and asking him to step out … Continue reading
E.D.Mich.: Parole search can occur when parolee not home
Defendant was on state parole living with his girlfriend, also a defendant. They were out and her mother was their babysitter in the home. Parole came by for a compliance check. The mother let them in. First, the search was … Continue reading
SC: Exigency for CSLI was shooting victim left for dead and defendant was armed and dangerous
There was exigency for CSLI. “Thus, this was not a standard criminal investigation seeking cell phone data; rather, this request sought to address an ongoing emergency because Carter was potentially armed and dangerous, had been involved in a violent crime … Continue reading
CA3: Delaware “hit and hold” practice for entries not decided because of consent
The court declines to decide the officers’ “hit and hold” entries where they entered without a warrant but under alleged exigency, secured the premises, and then sought a search warrant. Because there was independent justification for the warrantless search after … Continue reading
S.D.Ind.: Forced Covid test didn’t violate 4A
Requiring plaintiff, who said he was positive for Covid-19, be tested before putting him in hospital was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. It’s less intrusive than swabbing for DNA. Alternatively, qualified immunity applies. Mercado v. Columbus Reg’l Hosp., 2022 U.S. … Continue reading
CA3: Fire scene search for potential spread was exigent
The fire department arrived at a kitchen stove fire in an apartment building that was out. Informed of a sparking stove, fireman suspected there could be a fire in the basement. In the basement they found faulty wiring but no … Continue reading
MO: Objection for “lack of foundation and improper procedure” not a 4A challenge
An objection to a BAC test for lack of foundation and improper procedure does not preserve a Fourth Amendment challenge. Petersen v. State, 2022 Mo. LEXIS 226 (Nov. 22, 2022). The officers made a valid plain view to damage to … Continue reading
CA6: Seeing person named in arrest warrant at place she was staying satisfied Payton
Officers had sufficient information under Payton that a woman for whom they had a warrant was on the premises she was supposedly living at when they entered. They’d seen her there, and CIs put her there. United States v. Essex, … Continue reading
AL: When def was being taken to ER for chest pains, looking in pocket of jacket he wanted to take and a pill bottle inside was reasonable
Complaining of chest pains, defendant called 911. Attached to his address was a “safety alert” that police should show up for the safety of EMTs and firemen. As he was being transported to the hospital, he asked for his coat … Continue reading
D.S.C.: No exigency 6 hours after 911 call
Police showed up at defendant’s house six hours after a 911 call. Whatever exigency there might have been had dissipated. Everyone in the house was asleep. United States v. Miller, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189981 (D.S.C. Oct. 17, 2022). The … Continue reading
M.D.Pa.: 14 yo kidnapping victim’s 911 call created exigency for def’s cell phone seizure
A 14-year-old kidnapping victim called 911 that she was taken three days earlier, and defendant was finally detained as a result. His phone was seized and a warrant obtained. The seizure of the warrant was reasonable based on all the … Continue reading