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Search Result: Point of Law

Displaying 81  -  100  of  142

Seizing and Searching Passengers

September 1, 2007

In the 2007 decision in Brendlin v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court added yet another to a series of Fourth Amendment opinions on the subject of vehicle searches and seizures involving passengers, rather than drivers.

Reasonable Execution of Search Warrants

August 1, 2007

A search conducted under a valid search warrant can still violate the Fourth Amendment if it is conducted in an unreasonable manner. "It is incumbent upon the officer executing a search warrant to ensure the search is lawfully authorized and lawfully conducted." (Groh v. Ramirez)

Federal Liability for Vehicle Pursuits

July 1, 2007

Any officer who's been involved in a vehicle pursuit that resulted in property damage, bodily injury, or death should be concerned with at least three levels of liability. Departmental discipline may be imposed if the pursuit violates agency policy. Tort liability may be imposed through a lawsuit filed in state court. And plaintiffs may file a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages.

The "Good Faith" Doctrine

June 1, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that "Because many situations which confront officers in the course of executing their duties are more or less ambiguous, room must be allowed for some mistakes on their part. But the mistakes must be those of reasonable men, acting on facts leading sensibly to their conclusions of probability." (Brinegar v. U.S.)

Vehicle Impounding

May 1, 2007

If the court finds that the Constitution was violated by a vehicle impound, the existence of an authorizing statute or policy may not be enough to save you and your agency from civil liability and suppression of resulting evidence.

Plain Sense Seizures

April 1, 2007

If a criminal exposes evidence in ways that can be detected by use of the personal senses, there is no Fourth Amendment “search” involved in discovering the presence of such items. Assuming no previous unlawful search, the seizure of the items is presumptively reasonable if there is probable cause to associate them with criminal activity.

Cold Case Interrogations

March 1, 2007

In many instances, the suspect in a cold case turns out to be someone who is serving time for another crime. What are the considerations for conducting custodial interrogation of such a prisoner, insofar as Miranda and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel are concerned?

Search Warrant Exceptions

February 1, 2007

The requirement of the Fourth Amendment is that all searches be "reasonable." The Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless searches are presumed to be unreasonable, "subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions."

The Lawful Use of Deception

January 1, 2007

It might be nice if law enforcement officers never had to lie to a criminal suspect in order to solve a crime. In fact, some police advisors do suggest to officers that they should never mislead a suspect. Unfortunately, the reality is otherwise.

Preserving and Disclosing Evidence

December 1, 2006

Most law enforcement officers are familiar with the term “Brady error.” But what exactly does the Brady rule cover, and what obligation does it impose on police? Under the Brady line of cases, when must officers preserve evidence, and what must be revealed to the prosecutor? These questions have been answered in a series of opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

ID Procedures and the Right to Counsel

November 1, 2006

There are several ways a crime victim or other eyewitness might have an opportunity to identify a stranger-perpetrator of a crime before being called as a witness in court. (If the perpetrator is an acquaintance, the ID will not generally be an issue.)

Miranda Wording

October 1, 2006

When custodial interrogation is imminent and it's time to give the suspect a Miranda warning, what exactly do you have to say? The answer is, nothing exactly. The U.S. Supreme Court, which created the necessity of a warning of rights and a waiver as prerequisites to the prosecutorial use of a statement obtained through custodial interrogation, has never held that any precise wording is required.

30th Anniversary: High-Impact Decisions

October 1, 2006

Every U.S. Supreme Court decision on the criminal justice provisions of the Constitution (especially the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments) is important to law enforcement, but some have a more significant day-to-day impact on police work than others.

Parole and Probation Searches

September 1, 2006

After pussyfooting around the issue for years, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally come to a decision on what justifies a probation or parole search.

Knock Notice After Hudson

August 1, 2006

Never mind the headlines and the editorials proclaiming that the Supreme Court did away with the knock-and-announce requirement for execution of search warrants in the recent case of Hudson v. Michigan. The court did no such thing.

Entry to Quell a Disturbance

July 1, 2006

Any law enforcement entry into private premises, including a residence, or an office or other commercial area that is not open to the public, is governed by the Fourth Amendment. Officers may make lawful entry only in four ways, and the consequences of unlawful entry can include suppression of evidence and civil liability.

Anticipatory Search Warrants

June 1, 2006

Can you get a search warrant in advance that will authorize you to enter and search for the suspected items once the designated time arrives or the triggering event occurs? According to a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the answer is, yes.

Third Party Consent Searches

May 1, 2006

One of the "firmly established exceptions" to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures is the "consent exception."

Keeping the Peace During Civil Disputes

April 1, 2006

Although it’s tempting to take sides on certain calls, doing so can have major repercussions for you and your agency.

Seizing Evidence in Plain View

March 1, 2006

The Fourth Amendment governs three forms of activity: searches (intrusions into privacy), seizures of the person (detentions and arrests), and seizures of property. If these acts are not authorized by judicial warrant, they must come within one or more of the court-created exceptions for warrantless search and seizure (Katz v. U.S.). One of these exceptions is called “plain view.”

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