- 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: April 2023
PA: No standing to challenge Google SW for who searched rape victim’s name before crime
In a home invasion rape case, the state sought from Google search information involving the victim’s name in the 48 hours before the rape, and there were searches for that from defendant’s IP address. Defendant had no reasonable expectation of … Continue reading
TN: By killing one’s host, guest standing is lost
By attacking and killing his hosts, his parents, defendant lost guest standing, if he would have had it at all. Police conducted a welfare check and found severed body parts in plastic tubs and on the stove, including a head … Continue reading
CA8: Merely pointing a Taser not a seizure
Pointing a Taser at plaintiff was not a seizure. Pollreis v. Marzolf, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 10269 (8th Cir. Apr. 27, 2023). Even if possession of a firearm in a concealed carry state was not unlawful, smoking marijuana with a … Continue reading
CA11: Roadside dog sniff during the records check was reasonable and did not extend the stop
A roadside dog sniff during the records check was reasonable even without reasonable suspicion and did not extend the stop. United States v. Ramirez-Rivera, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 10325 (11th Cir. Apr. 27, 2023). On collective knowledge: “As the surveillance … Continue reading
WY: Inventory policy reasonably permitted opening containers
The inventory policy reasonably permitted opening containers. Beckwith v. State, 2023 WY 39, 2023 Wyo. LEXIS 39 (Apr. 27, 2023). Years after a seizure but still pre-indictment, the plaintiff sought return of property while the government was still investigating. It’s … Continue reading
D.Kan.: “The opening of the driver’s door had no effect or impact on the dog’s alert.”
“The opening of the driver’s door had no effect or impact on the dog’s alert.” United States v. Anderson, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73033 (D. Kan. Apr. 26, 2023). The facts in the record support the automobile exception as the … Continue reading
TX: New crime in resisting illegal arrest doesn’t depend on gravity of the new offense
Appellant resisted an illegal patdown and was Tased and charged with obstruction and resisting. A new offense is an intervening circumstance under Brown, and it doesn’t matter whether it is “serious” or not. Massey v. State, 2023 Tex. Crim. App. … Continue reading
IL4: Despite legalization of possession of small amounts of MJ, dog alert still PC
The drug dog’s “positive alert on the vehicle in this case established a fair probability that drugs or evidence of a crime would be found in the vehicle. This is true despite recent changes in the law regarding the legalization … Continue reading
MN: Underlying conviction can’t be challenged on 4A grounds
In a driver’s license suspension case, the fact an underlying out of state driving offense was allegedly obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment is no defense. It was final. Underhill v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 2023 Minn. App. LEXIS … Continue reading
OH12: Fact LEO broke traffic laws to catch speeder isn’t a 4A reasonableness defense
The fact a police officer arguably broke traffic laws to effect a stop of a fleeing motorist isn’t a defense to a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment or the state constitution. State v. Johnson, 2023-Ohio-1320, 2023 Ohio App. LEXIS … Continue reading
OH9: Growing house fire next door was exigency to clear def’s house
Defendant’s next door neighbor’s house caught on fire, and police at the scene acted reasonably in entering his house to clear it when the fire grew and they reasonably feared it would spread to the houses next door. State v. … Continue reading
AR: Suicide note and no answer at door justified exigent entry
Police responded to a call within minutes of a finding of a suicide note. “One officer called the on-call investigator after knocking on the door and getting no response. It was only then that the officers decided to breach the … Continue reading
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
NC: Arrest warrant for def permitted entry into house when he retreated inside; protective sweep valid
Officers had an arrest warrant for defendant for a violent crime, and he was found at home. They saw him outside, and he retreated inside. The SRT showed up too. The entry for the arrest was valid, as was the … Continue reading
CA8: Omission of fact CI lied about prior murder for hire schemes wasn’t material enough where one recorded ptf
This was a murder for hire scheme. The affiant had good information that the CI was a notorious liar, having falsely alleged other schemes in the past. Here, however, there was “powerful” evidence of probable cause in recordings to back … Continue reading
CA9: SOL on search claim starts with the search
Case over search dismissed on SOL grounds. Plaintiff on notice from the time of the search. Reyes v. Cty. of Wash., 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 9353 (9th Cir. Apr. 19, 2023). The officers obtaining and executing the warrant for defendant’s … Continue reading
D.Minn.: The affidavit for SW was somewhat conclusory, but the officer’s efforts to corrorobate the CI showed GF
Officers had probable cause for a Facebook tracking warrant to provide information of where he was when he posted about his travels south to acquire fentanyl for sale in Minnesota based on informant hearsay and his two pending drug cases. … Continue reading