- 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: Staleness
E.D.N.Y.: Even if Brooklyn checkpoint was unreasonable, def’s flight from it was intervening circumstance
NYPD set up a vehicle checkpoint in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, because of heavy traffic and crime in general. Every third vehicle was to be stopped except anything apparently a violation would cause a stop. Defendant was stopped for no front … Continue reading
CA5: 4A doesn’t apply to a letter carrier
“In co-defendant Johnlouis’s case, our court upheld the denial of the motion to suppress because we determined that the letter carrier was ‘not a government actor to whom the Fourth Amendment applies.’ United States v. Johnlouis, 44 F.4th 331, 337 … Continue reading
CO: Typo in date (9/9 v. 9/30) in SW affidavit could be overlooked by other contents referring to previous few hours; GFE also applies
The typographical error in the affidavit showing the date as September 9th when it should have been September 30th could be overlooked because the affidavit as a whole referred to the previous few hours, and the good faith exception applies. … Continue reading
CA4: “[T]he ability to execute a search does not necessarily imply power to execute a search warrant.”
“[T]he ability to execute a search does not necessarily imply power to execute a search warrant.” Osmon v. United States, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 9177 (4th Cir. Apr. 18, 2023). Defendant’s Franks motion fails because there’s no offer of proof … Continue reading
CA4: Slightly outdated information police gathered def lived at place in SW still made it in good faith
Officers gathered information that defendant’s son lived in his house and presented it for a search warrant. After the search they found out he didn’t. The warrant was still issued in good faith. United States v. Jordan, 2023 U.S. App. … Continue reading
W.D.Ky.: SW for car in impound four months after seizure based on jail call was not stale; no realistic chance of change in condition
After a jail call, the police decided to get a search warrant for defendant’s car in impound for four months for drugs in the engine compartment which had been in impound. The warrant wasn’t stale because the information was just … Continue reading
WY: In felony domestic battery case, state showed nexus that evidence could likely be found in def’s journal
Defendant was convicted of strangulation of a family member. The family member reported to the police that he had been in counseling and was keeping a detailed journal trying to break the cycle of domestic abuse. The affidavit for the … Continue reading
CA6: Affidavit circumstantially supported nexus
There was nexus to defendant’s home as a base of operations for drug sales based on circumstantial evidence in the affidavit for warrant. United States v. Pointer, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 35506 (6th Cir. Dec. 20, 2022).* The search warrant … Continue reading
N.D.Ill.: PC for admin. warrant became stale before it was sought
This administrative search warrant under OSHA became stale by the government’s delay in seeking it and litigation delays. Also, USMJs have jurisdiction to issue administrative inspection warrants. F.R.C.P. 72 objections do not apply to administrative warrants because they frustrate enforcement … Continue reading
CA6: 4A generally doesn’t apply to sentencing enhancements
“The Fourth Amendment does not apply to sentencing enhancements. … We have recognized a possible exception to this rule—when officers illegally seized the evidence for the very purpose of enhancing the defendant’s sentence—but Wyse makes no such allegation.” United States … Continue reading
TX14: PC for a cell phone requires more than a bare conclusion one was present or involved; no PC here
“A probable cause affidavit supporting a cell phone search must contain evidence of the requisite nexus with more than mere conclusory allegations. For example, the Court of Criminal Appeals recently held that generic, boilerplate language about cell phone use among … Continue reading
D.S.D.: Totality of circumstances showed def likely resided in dwelling for entry on arrest warrant
Based on the totality of circumstances, officers finally had good reason to believe defendant resided in the dwelling he was found in, and the arrest warrant alone was enough to justify entry. United States v. Ulrich, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS … Continue reading
ID: Not telling arrestee reason for arrest in violation of statute not a 4A violation
Failure to notify an arrestee of the reason for his arrest in violation of the statute does not make the arrest violate the Fourth Amendment or state constitution. State v. Lancaster, 2022 Ida. LEXIS 133 (Nov. 1, 2022). There were … Continue reading
N.D.Ind.: Question is not actual reliability of police database, it is reasonableness of reliance on it
“As soon as [the officer] accessed [the database from the police car], he saw an alert suggesting that Defendant was armed. Defendant argues that Davis could not be sure of the accuracy of this information, but that hardly matters. Reasonable … Continue reading
E.D.Mich.: Single telephone call 6 weeks before drug SW was stale
A single telephone call 6 weeks before the search warrant was sought was stale. Nothing in between. “In the context of drug crimes, ‘information goes stale very quickly “because drugs are usually sold and consumed in a prompt fashion.”’” And, … Continue reading
W.D.N.C.: Facebook post of def with backpack full of cash a year earlier wasn’t stale
Reference in a search warrant application to a Facebook post showing defendant buying expensive jewelry with a backpack full of cash at a time when he claimed no taxable income since 2017 was not stale. United States v. Grandy, 2022 … Continue reading
D.S.D.: Time waiting for someone to come to remove car, tow truck or friend, was part of incidents of stop
When the vehicle will be removed because of no licensed person to take control, the time between the calling of the tow truck or a friend or family member to take it away and their arrival is part of the … Continue reading