- 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
ABA Journal Web 100, Best Law Blogs (2017); ABA Journal Blawg 100 (2015-16) (discontinued 2018)
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: Surveillance technology
NACDL: 4 articles on electronic searches
Clare Harvie, What Defense Counsel Should Know About Facial Recognition Technology, 47 Champion 16 (No. 3, May 2023) Jennifer S. Granick, Marking Warrants Great Again: Avoiding General Searches in the Execution of Warrants for Electronic Data, 47 Champion 28 (No. … Continue reading
NYT: Bad facial recognition match
NYT: Police Relied on Hidden Technology and Put the Wrong Person in Jail by Kashmir Hill and Ryan Mac (“Randal Reid spent nearly a week in confinement, falsely accused of stealing purses in a state he said he had never … Continue reading
Reason: Senators Ask DEA To Stop Buying Its Way Around Civil Liberties
Reason: Senators Ask DEA To Stop Buying Its Way Around Civil Liberties by Elizabeth Nolan Brown (“‘DEA agents were regularly paying for and receiving private customer information.’ Rather than obtain a warrant for some mailed packages or consumer travel data, … Continue reading
Even burner phones can be sometimes traced
Detroit News: Woman guilty in threats case after 2020 presidential election by Robert Snell:
Wired: Face Recognition Software Led to His Arrest. It Was Dead Wrong
Wired; Face Recognition Software Led to His Arrest. It Was Dead Wrong (“Alonzo Sawyer’s misidentification by algorithm made him a suspect for a crime police now say was committed by someone else—feeding debate over regulation.”)
Reason: The Feds Are Buying Their Way Around the 4th Amendment
We gave away our privacy, fair and square, and capitalism trumps the Fourth Amendment: Reason: The Feds Are Buying Their Way Around the 4th Amendment by David McGarry (“Government agencies have paid to access huge amounts of Americans’ data.”)
WaPo: Youngkin opposes effort to shield menstrual data from law enforcement
WaPo: Youngkin opposes effort to shield menstrual data from law enforcement by Laura Vozzella & Gregory S. Schneider (“The administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) helped defeat a bill this week to put menstrual data stored on period-tracking apps beyond … Continue reading
ABA: Katz or Dogs? Why the Katz Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Test Is More Applicable to Advancing Technology than a Test Applied to Dog Sniffs
Katz or Dogs? Why the Katz Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Test Is More Applicable to Advancing Technology than a Test Applied to Dog Sniffs by Blade M. Allen (ABA Criminal Justice Jan. 23, 2023). (And I’m tired of cutsy Katz … Continue reading
techdirt: Government Continues To Rely On Private Contractors To Bypass Privacy Protections
techdirt: Government Continues To Rely On Private Contractors To Bypass Privacy Protections by Tim Cushing (“There’s only so much domestic surveillance the government can engage in before it starts running into problems. The Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision strongly suggested gathering … Continue reading
The Conversation: Not Big Brother, but close: a surveillance expert explains some of the ways we’re all being watched, all the time
The Conversation: Not Big Brother, but close: a surveillance expert explains some of the ways we’re all being watched, all the time (“Nearly ten years on, surveillance technologies permeate all aspects of our lives. They collect swathes of data from … Continue reading
The Conversation: What is Fog Reveal? A legal scholar explains the app some police forces are using to track people without a warrant
The Conversation: What is Fog Reveal? A legal scholar explains the app some police forces are using to track people without a warrant by Anne Toomey McKenna (“Government use of Fog Reveal highlights a problematic difference between data privacy law … Continue reading
Gizmodo: Whistleblower: Pentagon Purchased Mass Surveillance Tool Collecting Americans’ Web Browsing Data
Gizmodo: Whistleblower: Pentagon Purchased Mass Surveillance Tool Collecting Americans’ Web Browsing Data (“Multiple military intelligence offices have paid a data broker for access to internet traffic logs, which could reveal the online browsing histories of U.S. citizens, Sen. Ron Wyden … Continue reading
The Crime Report: San Francisco PD Wants Access to Private Surveillance Cameras
The Crime Report: San Francisco PD Wants Access to Private Surveillance Cameras (“The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a consequential vote on a proposal from the San Francisco police department that seeks a boost in law enforcement access … Continue reading
LATimes: Police Commission sets new rules for how LAPD uses surveillance technology
LATimes: Police Commission sets new rules for how LAPD uses surveillance technology (“The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday adopted new rules for how police can use crimefighting technologies, despite opposition from advocacy groups who said they could lead to … Continue reading
Wired: Police Used a Baby’s DNA to Investigate Its Father for a Crime
Wired: Police Used a Baby’s DNA to Investigate Its Father for a Crime (“The blood is supposed to be used for medical purposes—these screenings identify babies with serious health issues, and they have been highly successful at reducing death and … Continue reading
D.C.Cir.: FAA drone registration requirement violates no REP
The FAA rule requiring all drones when flying to transmit information about themselves violates no reasonable expectation of privacy. They operate in public airspace, which the federal government controls, and the rule requires a digital license plate but only electronically … Continue reading
Politico: Amazon gave Ring videos to police without owners’ permission
Politico: Amazon gave Ring videos to police without owners’ permission by Alfred Ng (“The revelation highlights the many ways that police can get footage from Ring doorbells, and how often it happens without consent.”)
S.D.Fla.: A § 1983 case over pre-Kraft video surveillance dismissed for QI
In another court ordered video surveillance massage parlor case, this time a § 1983 case, the surveillance order was pre-Kraft where the 4th DCA suppressed surveillance there, so the defendants get qualified immunity. Taig v. Currey, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS … Continue reading
NBC News: Police sweep Google searches to find suspects. The tactic is facing its first legal challenge
NBC News: Police sweep Google searches to find suspects. The tactic is facing its first legal challenge by Jon Schuppe (“Privacy advocates are watching the case closely, concerned that police could use reverse keyword searches to investigate people who seek … Continue reading
The Hill: Period tracking apps are trying to protect users’ privacy now that Roe is overturned
The Hill: Period tracking apps are trying to protect users’ privacy now that Roe is overturned by Shirin Ali (“Flo, a period tracker app that’s used by 200 million users worldwide, announced it was developing an anonymous mode which will … Continue reading