- D.Nev.: Affidavits for SWs don’t have to prove the underlying crimes
- D.V.I.: Flyover of curtilage from navigable airspace was reasonable
- NJ: Disputes in the facts on appeal show trial court should have held a hearing
- NY: Second SW for phone a year later after first SW failed to show PC wasn’t timely
- GA: Not objecting to mention of “probation” search at trial was not IAC
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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: Strip search
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
A warrantless Fourth Amendment “search” occurred when the police drug-sniffing dog trespassed against defendant’s vehicle for the purpose of obtaining information about, or related to, the vehicle. When the dog approached the driver’s side on his second pass, he clearly … 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
CA6: New information about a search doesn’t qualify for successor habeas
Alleged new information about the search of defendant’s property doesn’t allege actual innocence and thus is not grounds for a successor habeas. In re Fisher, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 677 (6th Cir. Jan. 11, 2023). 2255 petitioner’s ineffectiveness claim on … Continue reading
SC Const. search and seizure and privacy provision protects abortion rights; Idaho says theirs doesn’t
The state 1971 constitutional amendment recognizing a right to privacy was really enacting what the people always believed about privacy. It provides: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches … Continue reading
CA4: Bank robbery def abandoned the getaway car and his cell phone in it
“[T]he district court did not clearly err by finding that Pridgen abandoned the getaway vehicle and his cell phone, and, thus, the court did not err by finding that he lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in those items when … Continue reading
E.D.Pa.: Searching administratively impounded taxi states 4A claim
Plaintiff states a claim against the Philadelphia Parking Authority for detaining his temporarily impounded taxi for a later search without justification. Mbagwu v. PPA Taxi & Limousine Div., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167790 (E.D. Pa. Sep. 16, 2022). A cross-sex … Continue reading
OH12: Dog alert on car and def’s person didn’t justify strip search
There was reasonable suspicion for and continuing defendant’s stop. A dog sniff was permitted. The dog’s alert, however, didn’t permit a strip search of defendant. It did permit a search of the person. State v. Owensby, 2022-Ohio-1702, 2022 Ohio App. … Continue reading
OH12: Any error in SW return has no effect on search
Any error in the search warrant return does not affect the search itself. Therefore, it can’t form a basis for suppression. Defendant also disclaimed any interest in the property at the time of the search. State v. McClendon, 2022-Ohio-1441, 2022 … Continue reading
USA Today: Opinion: Prisons overuse strip searches to dehumanize people like me. End this horrific practice now.
USA Today: Opinion: Prisons overuse strip searches to dehumanize people like me. End this horrific practice now. (“New York, where I was incarcerated, should respect the bodily integrity and human dignity of those it holds in prison, as should every … Continue reading
MA: Dog alert to buttocks PC for strip search
After witnessing suspicious movement, and observing white powder on the vehicle dashboard where defendant had been sitting, police had probable cause to arrest defendant on drug charges and consequently were justified in conducting a search of the defendant incident to … Continue reading
NY Co.: Failure to execute SW in ten days voids it
The search warrant wasn’t executed within 10 days as required by statute where it had to be returned to the court if not. Suppressed. People v. Tonner, 2022 NY Slip Op 50175(U), 2022 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 833 (N.Y. Co. Feb. … Continue reading
E.D.Mich.: No standing to claim knock-and-announce violation of another’s house
Plaintiff has no standing to complain of a knock-and-announce violation of another person. “Here, Plaintiff does not even claim that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in McMullen’s house. But even if he did make such a claim, the … Continue reading
CA3: Coast Guard needs only RS to board a vessel to inspect the Oil Record Book about pollution
The Coast Guard had the authority under 14 U.S.C. § 522(a) to conduct a pollution inspection of defendant’s vessel and look at the Oil Record Book. “The Coast Guard’s preliminary examination of the Oil Record Book and Oily Water Separator … Continue reading
TX1: Commercial truck driver had standing to challenge seizure of cell phone from truck after his arrest
Defendant retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in his cell phone that was left in the semi he was driving for a commercial carrier when he was arrested. The owner of the truck retrieved the phone and sent it to … Continue reading
D.Conn.: A concealed carry permit is not cause for handcuffing a motorist
A concealed carry permit is not cause for handcuffing a motorist. Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147750 (D.Conn. Aug. 6, 2021). The lack of an arrest warrant isn’t relevant in an excessive force case where officers came to … Continue reading
SD: Failure to put video of stop in record limits review of lack of consent claim
Failure to put the video of defendant’s stop in the record means the court can’t consider it on appeal, and it goes from the trial court’s findings. State v. Slepikas, 2021 SD 43, 2021 S.D. LEXIS 82 (July 21, 2021) … Continue reading
Reason: Baton Rouge Cops Strip-Searched a Minor During a Traffic Stop and Entered a Family’s Home Without a Warrant.
Reason: Baton Rouge Cops Strip-Searched a Minor During a Traffic Stop and Entered a Family’s Home Without a Warrant. The City Just Settled for $35,000. By Billy Binion (“The case is an indictment on just how hard it is to … Continue reading
CA3: No suppression hearing needed on the mere chance something will turn up
The request for an evidentiary hearing on a suppression motion based on the mere hope something might turn up is really just speculation and should be denied. United States v. Dfouni, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 15091 (3d Cir. May 19, … Continue reading
W.D.Mo.: ER’s security staff conducts private searches of GSW victims
Defendant showed at a hospital ER with a gunshot wound. Hospital policy was for its security staff to search GSW patients’ clothing for staff safety. This was a private search, and it produced ammunition from a convicted felon. United States … Continue reading