- 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
online since Feb. 24, 2003 Approx. 350,000 visits (non-robot) since 2012 Approx. 45,000 posts since 2003 (25,700+ on WordPress as of 12/31/22)
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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: Community caretaking function
D.N.M.: Possession of a gun in car in Walmart parking lot wasn’t a crime and search for it under community caretaking function unreasonable
Police were called to a Walmart parking lot in Albuquerque because defendant was “unconscious” in his car in his car, and a gun was visible. The seizure of the gun and the interrogation surrounding it can’t be justified under the … Continue reading
KS: Chance of suicide justified public safety stop
Finding a car parked in a place where people notoriously went to commit suicide justified this public safety encounter. The officer smelled marijuana coming from the car and searched it. State v. McDonald, 2023 Kan. App. LEXIS 5 (Feb. 3, … Continue reading
D.Minn.: All theories to suppress must be raised to USMJ on referral or it’s waived
Defendant’s storage unit had the doors and handles tested with Ion Scanning. He had no reasonable expectation of privacy in that. Before the USDJ, however, he raised it was a trespass to do it as the officers did. That’s waived … Continue reading
E.D.Mich.: No sanction for automatic purge of bodycam video of this raid
The raid in this case was recorded on bodycams but the official retention policy at the time was to hold video for only 60 days unless it was flagged to be kept despite the fact that cases take longer than … Continue reading
D.Alaska: On reconsideration, govt revealed officer misconduct, and court finds him not credible
After defendant’s motion to suppress was denied, the government alerted the court and defense to an internal investigation of the state trooper involved just concluded where 43 instances of violation of policy and procedure were documented. The search here turned … Continue reading
CT: Entry onto def’s deck was for community caretaking function
The officer’s entry onto defendant’s deck here was of a community caretaking function to inform defendant that a loved one was going to the hospital. It was like a knock-and-talk. State v. Kuehn, 2022 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2075 (Sep. 13, … Continue reading
MA: Ptf stated claim for unjustified community caretaking entry to investigate alleged elder abuse
Plaintiff was caring for a 95-year-old retired priest. She stated a claim for a Fourth Amendment violation for a warrantless entry into her house, in part, under the community caretaking function without justification. Gallagher v. S. Shore Hosp., Inc., 2022 … Continue reading
OH5: Both patdowns without RS
Defendant’s first minute-long patdown was unreasonable, but produced nothing. There was no separate reasonable suspicion for the second one. State v. Barcus, 2022-Ohio-2491, 2022 Ohio App. LEXIS 2355 (5th Dist. July 20, 2022). Police went to defendant’s house on a … Continue reading
CA11: Absolute prosecutorial immunity doesn’t apply to failure to recall a material witness warrant leading to arrest
Absolute prosecutorial immunity does not apply to failure to recall a material witness warrant that caused a voluntary witness to be arrested later. Kassa v. Fulton Cty., Ga., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 19762 (11th Cir. July 18, 2022). There was … Continue reading
MT: Welfare check of car was reasonable, but extending it was without RS
The officer was justified in a welfare check of defendant sleeping in his car, but it never developed into reasonable suspicion. The stop was unreasonably extended. State v. Zeimer, 2022 MT 96, 2022 Mont. LEXIS 479 (May 24, 2022). A … Continue reading
MI: Merely passing money to a man in car who counted it is not RS
Merely passing money to a man in car who counted it is not reasonable suspicion. People v. Soulliere, 2022 Mich. LEXIS 798 (Apr. 22, 2022). Defendant was stopped for an alleged unsafe lane change and expired Pennsylvania tags. There was … Continue reading
D.N.M.: Community caretaking seizure of car off private property unreasonable
The impoundment of the car defendant was driving (although not his, he has standing) was unjustified. It was on private property and not impeding any traffic. The community caretaking function did not justify it. There was no standardized impoundment policy, … Continue reading
CA6: Officer’s opening car door was reasonable when semi-conscious driver couldn’t be roused
“The officers’ conduct up to and including Officer Mino’s decision to open the car’s passenger-side door fits within their role as community caretakers. As Mino testified at the suppression hearing, Mino believed that he and Anderson were responding to a … Continue reading
CA6: Suicide note created exigency for welfare check
Defendant’s alleged suicide note created exigency for warrantless entry. “Prior to Remillard’s trial, several Ohio courts had held that exigent circumstances permit a police officer’s warrantless entry into a home to conduct a wellness check on a suicidal individual if … Continue reading
SD: Call about a mere “argument” at 2:48 am didn’t support def’s stop leaving apartment parking lot
The community caretaking exception did not apply to defendant’s stop leaving an apartment parking lot at 2:48 am. A child called the police about an argument in the house, but nothing in the call or the report from dispatch indicated … Continue reading
AL: When DEA adopts a seizure for forfeiture, state courts lose jurisdiction to return property
When there’s a seizure for forfeiture and the DEA adopts it, the state court loses jurisdiction to return it. Hare v. Mack, 2022 Ala. LEXIS 8 (Jan. 21, 2022). Police responded to a shots fired call at an apartment where … Continue reading
M.D.Pa.: Doctor had no REP in hospital’s patient records
A doctor working at a hospital had no reasonable expectation of privacy in patient records in the hospital’s computer system. United States v. Evers, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200425 (M.D.Pa. Oct. 18, 2021). While a probationer is subject to broad … Continue reading
M.D.Pa.: CSLI tracking by state court order was reasonable under federal law despite alleged state law violation
Defendant’s cell phone location information search was reasonable and constitutional under federal law despite an alleged violation of state law. United States v. Coles, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143548 (M.D.Pa. Aug. 2, 2021). There was probable cause for the search … Continue reading