The decade of the 1960s gave us four of the most significant cases that apply to our daily work: Mapp, Brady, Miranda, and Terry. These four are among the most prominent criminal law cases you should know more about to understand how we got to where we are.
Checkpoint stops are different-multiple vehicles are stopped one after the other, at the same place, without any suspicion beforehand that anyone in particular may be engaged in unlawful activity.
The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule is not absolute. In a number of decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that even where a police officer makes an unreasonable search or seizure, there may be compelling reasons not to exclude resulting evidence.
Warrantless entries are limited to those authorized by consent, probation or parole search conditions, or "exigent circumstances" involving some sort of emergency requiring immediate action. One category of exigency that may justify warrantless entry is the need to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.
Some actions you take have been classified by Supreme Court decisions as requiring that you articulate a "reasonable suspicion" in order to make them constitutionally reasonable, while others can be undertaken only if there is "probable cause" ("PC"). But what do these terms mean? And how do you match the right level of justification with the kind of conduct you're seeking to justify?
When a suspect's vehicle is lawfully impounded (such as when the driver is arrested where the vehicle cannot be safely parked and locked, and there is no sober, licensed driver to take custody of it), it is usually permissible to conduct a standard inventory of the vehicle and its contents.
When you take down a drug house, or enter a home to investigate domestic violence, or serve a search warrant at a residence, which of the multiple people that you sometimes encounter would have the legal standing to challenge the lawfulness of your entry and search?