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Search and Seizure

California Couple Sues Department Alleging Police Mistakenly Ransacked Home

A couple is suing the San Francisco Police Department, alleging that officers searching for stolen mobile phones "ransacked" their apartment in a 2017 incident.

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Agents Seize Nearly $7M in Illegal Drugs at US-Mexico Border

Border agents at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility reportedly seized nearly $7 million worth of illegal narcotics, including 320 pounds of methamphetamine and 40 pounds of cocaine.

Appeals Court Rules Residency In Marijuana Legal State Not Justification for Police Search

By a 2-1 vote, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said two Kansas Highway Patrol officers violated the constitutional rights of Colorado motorist Peter Vasquez in December 2011 by pulling him over and searching his car after he had been driving alone at night on Interstate 70.

Community Caretaking Searches

Few of the safeguards granted to individuals in the United States under the Bill of Rights are more vociferously defended than the Fourth Amendment guaranteeing protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is especially the case where the entry of private residences is concerned.

Reasonable Suspicion

In some cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that particular searches and seizures need only "reasonable suspicion" to be constitutional—not the higher justification level of probable cause. What's the difference, and when is reasonable suspicion sufficient?

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.

SCOTUS Rules Evidence Cannot Be Suppressed Just Because an Officer Made a "Reasonable" Traffic Stop Mistake

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that the keystone of the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure is the word "unreasonable." And in this case, the officer's belief that having a broken tail light was illegal counted as a reasonable mistake. The traffic stop and the subsequent consensual search of the car were therefore also reasonable.

New Bill Would Require NYPD to Get Suspect's Search Consent

Members of New York City's City Council are introducing a bill that would force police officers to get written or audio permission from a suspect before they could conduct a search.

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.

Pa. Court Rules on Warrantless Vehicle Searches

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled last week that police are allowed to search vehicles without a warrant. The split-decision from the Supreme Court allows police to conduct searches of cars based only on probable cause.