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Open Wide and Say, "Ahhh"

Open Wide and Say, "Ahhh"

Under what circumstances would the Fourth Amendment allow routine collection of DNA samples upon arrest and booking? A recent Supreme Court decision addressed this issue.

August 5, 2013

Suspect-Initiated Interrogation

Suspect-Initiated Interrogation

Once a custodial suspect has been given Miranda warnings and has acknowledged his understanding, he might waive his rights and submit to questioning, or he might invoke—either by indicating that he doesn't want to talk, or by requesting counsel.

January 9, 2013

Lawyers and Miranda Warnings: Either/Or?

Lawyers and Miranda Warnings: Either/Or?

It sometimes happens that a suspect's lawyer offers to surrender him for arrest and agrees to let his or her client be questioned, provided the lawyer is present during the interrogation.

September 7, 2012

Suggestive Eyewitness ID

Suggestive Eyewitness ID

Identifying the perpetrator and clearing innocent suspects are crucial goals of every criminal investigation, and both depend on the use of reliable evidence. The Supreme Court has applied a constitutional due process test to the admissibility of testimony about an eyewitness's pretrial ID.

May 9, 2012

New Restrictions on GPS Tracking

New Restrictions on GPS Tracking

Police use of technology to catch criminals makes the U.S. Supreme Court nervous, as was evident in the recent Jones decision. In the absence of a recognized basis for a warrantless search, Jones does mean that a warrant must be obtained for installation andmonitoring of a GPS tracker on a suspect's vehicle.

March 5, 2012

Drawing Lines Around Miranda

Drawing Lines Around Miranda

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 54th decision on a Miranda issue, in a case called Bobby v. Dixon. This is the third decision on the issue of the admissibility of a suspect's statements obtained after a belated warning and waiver.

February 13, 2012

The "Emergency Aid Doctrine"

The "Emergency Aid Doctrine"

Officers can enter when it reasonably appears someone inside may need emergency aid, regardless of the officers' actual, subjective motivations for going inside.

February 5, 2010

Premature Miranda Warnings

Premature Miranda Warnings

Give Miranda warnings just before commencement of apparent custodial police interrogation-not sooner. Leave Hollywood tactics to the actors.

December 14, 2009

Sixth Amendment Waivers

Sixth Amendment Waivers

It will now be possible for law enforcement officers to attempt to obtain a waiver and an admissible statement from a defendant without running afoul of the Sixth Amendment.

August 7, 2009

Official Misinformation

Official Misinformation

What the exclusionary rule has actually meant in practice is that thousands (maybe millions) of criminals have been able to stop the prosecution from using critical evidence of their guilt to hold them accountable for their crimes.

March 1, 2009

Entrapment

Entrapment

"The first duties of the officers of the law are to prevent, not to punish crime. It is not their duty to incite to and create crime for the sole purpose of prosecuting and punishing it." — U.S. Supreme Court, Sorrells v. U.S.

October 1, 2008

How to Tell When You Need a Search Warrant

The general rule-of-thumb is to try to get a warrant whenever possible. On the other hand, if you can seize evidence without engaging in a search, you don't need either a warrant or any exception.

March 1, 2008

Residential Entry After Outdoors Arrest

There are four ways to make a lawful entry into a private home. Notice that "entry incident to outdoors arrest" is not on the list of lawful ways to get inside a residence. In three separate cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has held such entries to be unconstitutional.

February 1, 2008

Setting Up Talks

Setting Up Talks

One of the most troublesome legal issues in law enforcement is the question of when an officer may resume discussions with a suspect after some kind of Miranda "history" has occurred. The answer is, "It all depends."

November 1, 2007

Seizing and Searching Passengers

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.

September 1, 2007

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