Category Archives: Mail and packages

NC: Dog sniff of package in mail stream reasonable

A dog sniff of a package in the mail stream is reasonable. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy from a dog sniff there. State v. Teague, 2022-NCCOA-600, 2022 N.C. App. LEXIS 748 (Nov. 1, 2022). Defendants’ motion in limine … Continue reading

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CA5: USPS letter carrier not a 4A govt actor

A regular USPS letter carrier is not a governmental actor the Fourth Amendment governs. Here, her thumb slipped through a preexisting hole in a package she was delivering, and she became suspicious it contained drugs and wouldn’t leave it at … Continue reading

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NY Bronx: REP in one’s apartment building mailbox

Defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his mailbox in an apartment building from unreasonable searches. A search warrant was sought through the Bronx DA, but they were short staffed and recommended the officers get landlord consent. That was … Continue reading

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MI directs its CoA to consider application of exclusionary rule in zoning case

The Michigan Supreme Court remanded Long Lake Twp. v. Maxon, 2021 Mich. App. LEXIS 1819 (Mar. 18, 2021) (posted here) to determine below whether the exclusionary rule should apply in a zoning case. Long Lake Twp. v. Maxon, 2022 Mich. … Continue reading

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D.D.C.: No RS for sniff of luggage carried by Amtrak passenger

On the whole, there wasn’t reasonable suspicion for the dog sniff of the luggage they were carrying. Moreover, the court does not find they consented to it. The court declines to credit the testimony of the officer about nervousness and … Continue reading

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D.Mass.: Pretrial inmate mail was subject to search even though inmate handbook didn’t discuss it

While the pretrial inmate handbook didn’t say that outgoing mail was subject to inspection, the Supreme Court held in Stroud in 1919 that such searches were reasonable. And this one was too. United States v. Polanco, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS … Continue reading

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CA5: 17-day delay of package for investigation and SW was still reasonable

This 17-day delay in holding a package for investigation and developing probable cause for a search warrant was not unreasonable. There was reasonable suspicion for the initial detention, and, despite the delay, it was still reasonable. United States v. Martinez, … Continue reading

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W.D.Ky.: Confiscation of legal mail in prison is a 1A claim, not a 4A

“Because it is the First and Fourteenth Amendment, and not the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure that protects against the reading and confiscation of legal mail by prison officials, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment claim … Continue reading

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M.D.Pa.: Stopping UPS truck for dog sniff of packages wasn’t unreasonable

Of two coconspirators in a package containing drugs, the named sender has standing but the coconspirator does not. Stopping the UPS truck for a dog sniff of the packages did not interfere with any reasonable expectation of privacy. Besides, there … Continue reading

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OH6: No standing in a package stopped in transit where def’s name not anywhere on it

Defendant lacked standing to contest the detention of a package in transit in the Post Office because he was neither shown as the addressee nor the recipient. Even so, there was reasonable suspicion to detain the package. The dog sniff … Continue reading

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E.D.N.Y.: For § 1988 fee shifting, SCOTUS expert fees not awarded, only local rate

The fact expert Fourth Amendment counsel would have charged the client $1,000-1,800 before SCOTUS isn’t binding on the district court for fee shifting. The local rate is what’s reasonable. Agudath Israel of America v. Hochul, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233088 … Continue reading

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N.D.Ohio: One day delay of package in transit was reasonable

Defendant lacked standing to challenge the search of a parcel of drugs. “Even if Defendant could challenge the delay of delivering the Target Parcel, his argument fails. While ‘theoretically’ the ‘detention of mail could at some point become an unreasonable … Continue reading

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CA5: Five day delay and rerouting of package for search was reasonable

United States Postal Inspection Service and Department of Homeland Security officers reasonably suspected the package coming to defendant contained contraband. There was difficulty locating the package in the “mail stream.” They finally got to it before delivery and had it … Continue reading

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The Intercept: Federal Prisons’ Switch To Scanning Mail Is A Surveillance Nightmare

The Intercept: Federal Prisons’ Switch To Scanning Mail Is A Surveillance Nightmare (“The Bureau of Prisons has piloted a program that can give authorities ‘huge secret intelligence into the public sender of postal mail.’”) Politico: Covert Postal Service unit probed … Continue reading

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W.D.Mo.: Even if pretextual, this stop was otherwise reasonable

The traffic stop here was reasonable even if pretextual. United States v. Brown, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155885 (W.D.Mo. July 30, 2021).* There was justification for defendant’s stop: driving 100 mph and other traffic violations. United States v. Young, 2021 … Continue reading

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CA8: Taking box off FedEx conveyor belt for dog sniff didn’t deprive FedEx of custody

Moving a suspicious looking box from the FedEx conveyor belt to a back room for a dog sniff did not require reasonable suspicion nor did it deprive FedEx of custody of the box. The dog alert provided justification for a … Continue reading

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E.D.N.C.: The fact the search violated the state constitution isn’t a factor on legality of the search in federal case

In a federal criminal case, the fact the search violated the state constitution isn’t a factor on legality of the search under the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Breeden, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145729 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 4, 2021). Various factors … Continue reading

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CA4: No REP in FedEx packages with drugs sent to a dead man as a cover

Defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in FedEx packages with drugs sent to a friend’s house in the name of the friend’s deceased brother. United States v. Rose, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 20406 (4th Cir. July 9, 2021). When … Continue reading

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W.D.N.Y.: One has to show standing to get access to SW materials

Defendant has to show his standing to get access to the search warrant application under United States v. Pirk, 282 F. Supp. 3d 585, 594 (W.D.N.Y. 2017). United States v. Cobb, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114405 (W.D. N.Y. June 18, … Continue reading

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N.D.Ill.: Sender of package whose name wasn’t on it had standing

Defendant who orchestrated delivery of a package whose name wasn’t on it as sender or recipient had standing in the package. United States v. Williams, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88747 (N.D. Ill. May 10, 2021):

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