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Flight and the Fourth Amendment

Flight and the Fourth Amendment

Sometimes, people run when they see you coming. May you chase them? If you do, does that amount to a "show of authority" constituting a detention, requiring reasonable suspicion?

October 7, 2015

Unlawfully Prolonged Traffic Stop

Unlawfully Prolonged Traffic Stop

Is it OK under the Fourth Amendment to turn a traffic stop into a criminal investigation? Of course it is, provided the justification for the additional investigation is developed during the reasonable duration of the traffic stop—not after.

June 18, 2015

Mistake of Law: To Err Is Human

Mistake of Law: To Err Is Human

In a series of cases, the court has upheld searches and seizures made by officers who were mistaken in their understanding of the facts they confronted, or as to the law to be applied.

February 27, 2015

Understanding Fourth Amendment "Standing"
The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths

The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule binding on the states in the 1961 decision in Mapp v. Ohio, thousands of published decisions from state and federal courts have applied the exclusionary rule to thousands of searches and seizures. It's no wonder the 50-year tidal wave of exclusionary decisions has left confusion and misunderstanding in its wake. Here are five areas of the law that seem to suffer the most in translation.

November 11, 2014

Stop and Frisk?

Stop and Frisk?

Many people who use the term "stop and frisk" fail to realize that there actually is no such concept in the law, and that the phrase "stop and frisk" couples two constitutionally distinct activities that do not necessarily coincide. This misunderstanding is easily traced to the coincidence in Terry v. Ohio.

May 1, 2014

Constitutional Home Entry

Constitutional Home Entry

Private residences enjoy the highest levels of Fourth Amendment protection against governmental intrusion. Here are the 10 most common ways to get inside a home without violating the Fourth Amendment.

February 10, 2014

Chasing Misdemeanants

Chasing Misdemeanants

Some search-and-seizure rules are not very clear, and state and local federal courts might apply them differently. How can you be expected to pick and choose the right rule on an issue for which there doesn't seem to be just one "right" rule?

January 6, 2014

Visual Enhancement and the Fourth Amendment

Visual Enhancement and the Fourth Amendment

What if an object only comes into plain view after an officer shines a flashlight or spotlight into an area, or looks through binoculars? Does this use of sense-enhancing devices make a difference in the Fourth Amendment calculation of reasonableness?

December 6, 2013

Video and You

Video and You

If you aren't speaking and behaving at all times in public the way you want to appear when you're uploaded on YouTube, you could have some unpleasant surprises in store.

October 2, 2013

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

Forced Blood From Impaired Drivers

Forced Blood From Impaired Drivers

The Supreme Court has made it more difficult for law enforcement officers to obtain the most probative evidence of impaired driving—a measure of the alcohol concentration in a sample of the suspect's blood.

June 7, 2013

Dogs, Drugs, and the Fourth Amendment

Dogs, Drugs, and the Fourth Amendment

Two cases from Florida have brought the U.S. Supreme Court to two different conclusions regarding K-9 searches in 2013. One is an affirmation of existing practice, but the other breaks new ground and imposes new limits.

May 3, 2013

Search Warrant Detentions

Search Warrant Detentions

When you make a search of premises under authority of a search warrant, it is generally permissible to detain the occupants pending completion of the search. The authority to do so, and the rationale supporting detention, were limited by a 2013 decision.

April 30, 2013

Consent Searches

Consent Searches

Warrantless searches are presumed to be unreasonable, but the U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that a warrantless search may still be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if it falls within the guidelines of one or more of a limited number of exceptions.

February 5, 2013

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