When the government, in an attempt to get information, "trespasses" on any of the items specifically listed in the Fourth Amendment ("persons, houses, papers and effects"), this constitutes a "search," whether or not there is any infringement of a suspect's legitimate expectation of privacy.
November 5, 2012
As private citizens, reporters are not bound by the Fourth Amendment. You are. Private citizens generally can't be sued for violating someone's Fourth Amendment rights. You can. Read on.
October 10, 2012
Under what circumstances is it permissible to inquire into a person's immigration status? The Supreme Court has addressed this question in several opinions, most recently in its 2012 decision reviewing Arizona's immigration statutes.
August 2, 2012
If you articulate circumstances that are suspicious, based on your training and experience, you should not be second-guessed by judges on the ground that the conduct you considered was just a combination of innocent acts.
July 10, 2012
After issuing a series of decisions over the years that have been mostly deferential to custodial officials in managing their secure facilities, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a new ruling on the constitutionality of visual strip searches of minor-offense arrestees.
June 1, 2012
Although some searches and seizures may only be justifiable under a single approach, many can be justified several different ways. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that when this is the case, any independent source of contested evidence will suffice, even when another does not.
January 12, 2012
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.
December 2, 2011
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.
November 1, 2011
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.
October 17, 2011
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.
July 7, 2011
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?
June 7, 2011
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.
April 14, 2011
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?
March 10, 2011
In the usual case, both the seizure and the search must be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment in order for the evidence to be admissible. The U.S. Supreme Court and federal appeals courts have considered both issues when officers have used K-9s to detect contraband.
January 3, 2011
If you can identify two or more ways to justify a detention, arrest, search, or entry, you increase the odds that at least one of them will be upheld in court.
July 30, 2010