- NJ: Computer return of car owner’s suspended DL justified stop, but it had to end when it was obvious driver was not owner
- GA: 2022 SW for cell phone illegally searched in 2020 had no independent basis; no GFE
- N.D.Ga.: UPS a private searcher, even with its “good-Samaritan motivation”
- Techstory: Cellphone Border Searches: Feds, You’ll Need a Warrant
- D.Nev.: Affidavits for SWs don’t have to prove the underlying crimes
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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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Monthly Archives: March 2023
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
NY Richmond Co.: Mere possession of a cell phone while committing an assault isn’t PC for the phone
Defendant’s possession of a cell phone at the time of his allegedly committing an assault was not probable cause to search the phone. Motion to suppress granted as to it. People v. Vergara, 2023 NY Slip Op 23083, 2023 N.Y. … Continue reading
VA: Two Black men walking in residential area at night near a crime wasn’t RS
Walking while black at night in a residential area near where a crime reported wasn’t enough to stop them. There was nothing suggested they did anything. Turay v. Commonwealth, 2023 Va. App. LEXIS 205 (Mar. 21, 2023) (unpublished):
WaPo: U.S. warrant requirement for surveillance program could hamper cyber cases, FBI official warns
WaPo: U.S. warrant requirement for surveillance program could hamper cyber cases, FBI official warns (“A top FBI official said Wednesday that a warrant requirement being floated for a controversial expiring surveillance program would be a big impediment to cyber investigations. … 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
N.D.Ala.: Wrong street number in a SW didn’t void it where house was well described and officers had been there before
The wrong street number on the search warrant did not make it invalid. Officers knew the house from surveillance, and it was described. The right house was searched. “So, the erroneous street number did not make the warrant invalid.” Threatt … Continue reading
SC: DL checkpoint was reasonable
Murder case: A highway checkpoint with four officers to check DLs, registration, and insurance was valid under Prouse, Sitz, and Edmund. No suggestion it was for general crime control. State v. Jones, 2023 S.C. LEXIS 61 (Mar. 29, 2023). Defendant … Continue reading
CA11: Change in strategy doesn’t excuse untimely motion to suppress
With second counsel, defendant filed a second motion to suppress apparently based on new strategy about how to approach one. The different strategy is not “good cause” based on newly discovered facts. United States v. Vazquez, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS … Continue reading
S.D.N.Y.: The exclusionary rule doesn’t apply in § 1983 cases
The exclusionary rule doesn’t apply in § 1983 cases. Villafane v. City of N.Y., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52149 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2023). There was probable cause for the search warrant for defendant’s DNA. United States v. Burkhalter, 2023 U.S. … Continue reading
MA: Horizontal collective knowledge requires officers communicate with each other
Horizontal collective knowledge in Massachusetts requires the officers communicate with each other and share information. Commonwealth v. Privette, 2023 Mass. LEXIS 86 (Mar. 28, 2023):
W.D.N.C.: 2255 claim of merely failing to investigate a search claim doesn’t state a post-conviction claim
2255 petition’s claim that defense counsel failed to investigate whether a motion to suppress should have been filed fails. There was a search warrant, and there’s no suggestion it was invalid. Fluid v. United States, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51173 … Continue reading
E.D.La.: Failure to cross-examination searching officers more wouldn’t change outcome
In a long super-detailed 2254 habeas, defendant loses on all issues. As to failure to cross-examine even more the searching officer about the details of execution of the search warrant, it was speculative that it would conceivably change the outcome. … Continue reading
CO: LEOs didn’t expand on private search
A private party found video of a sexual assault on defendant’s computer and provided it to law enforcement. A search warrant wasn’t needed for law enforcement to view that file. People v. Morse, 2023 COA 27, 2023 Colo. App. LEXIS … Continue reading
S.D.W.Va.: This border search of cell phone was routine, despite taking 4 hours
The border search of defendant’s cell phone was routine and reasonable and didn’t need reasonable suspicion. He provided the passcode, and the phone was on airplane mode so it did not go outside the phone. United States v. Tick Chin, … Continue reading
CA7: Prima facie Franks violation made not disclosing CI’s motives; remanded
Defendant made his prima facie case of a Franks violation, and he was entitled to a hearing. The informants were involved in a love quadrangle not revealed to the warrant issuing judge. Analyzing the affidavit sentence by sentence, the omissions … Continue reading
OH7: Officer seeing sawed-off shotgun in car door justified questions under Quarles
Defendant was stopped and got out of his car, and in the door was a sawed off shotgun. Questions about the gun next to him were legitimate under Quarles. State v. Anderson, 2023-Ohio-945, 2023 Ohio App. LEXIS 922 (7th Dist. … Continue reading
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
D.N.M.: Search warrants are directed at places, not persons; offender need not be mentioned
Search warrants are directed at places, not persons. “Because, at the time of the oral affidavit, there was a fair probability the crime of kidnapping occurred and a fair probability evidence of that crime would be found in Defendant’s home … Continue reading