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Vehicle Searches: Incident to Arrest

Vehicle Searches: Incident to Arrest

After Apr. 19, officers and agencies could incur liability for vehicle searches incident to arrest that do not fall within the Gant guidelines.

June 1, 2009

Updating Weapons Frisks

Updating Weapons Frisks

Although it's common to see the term "stop and frisk," it's possible that there might be justification for a stop, but not for a frisk.

April 1, 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

Keeping up with Case Law

Keeping up with Case Law

Much of what I learned in basic academy in the late 1960s is no longer good law. If I were still operating on the basis of 40-year-old understandings, I wouldn't be very effective.

November 1, 2008

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

How to Justify Officer Safety Searches

On average, 60,000 officers are assaulted on the job every year. That's an average of 164 per day. The risk level you face on the job makes it important not only to resist complacency and to follow prudent tactics, but also to understand how to ensure that your interactions with suspects are constitutionally justifiable, so that you are never forced to choose between being safe and being sued.

October 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

Anticipatory Search Warrants

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.

June 1, 2006

Third Party Consent Searches

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

May 1, 2006

Seizing Evidence in Plain View

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.”

March 1, 2006

Davis Rules

In a fairly common scenario, you obtain a valid Miranda waiver from a suspect in custody and begin interrogation. Part-way through your questioning, the suspect begins to feel uneasy about going forward and says something about remaining silent or talking to a lawyer.

January 1, 2006

Holding Back Home Occupants

When you go into a suspect’s home to execute a search warrant, it’s not uncommon to find several people present, whether suspects, family members, or others. Sometimes, occupants may outnumber officers on the scene. This can create problems of safety and control, making it more difficult to carry out the search. Realizing this, the Supreme Court has provided guidelines on the ability of officers to detain, handcuff, and question occupants while a search takes place.

May 1, 2005

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