Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that warrants may only be granted upon findings of probable cause. The Fourth... more +
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that warrants may only be granted upon findings of probable cause. The Fourth Amendment applies to the States via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Important areas of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence flow from questions surrounding the definitions of "search" and "seizure," the applicability of the Amendment to so-called "stop and frisk" situations, the level of control that must be exerted by law enforcement before an individual is deemed "seized," and the "exclusionary rule," just to name a few.    less -
News & Analysis as of

Supreme Court Decision — Warrantless Searches Okay If One Occupant Of Shared Residence Consents

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. With some exceptions, law enforcement must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before conducting a search of private property or...more

Twitter, Evidence, Privacy and Social Media

A recent case, albeit one dealing with a governmental subpoena, shows that the SCA may not be the panacea that social networking sites think it is. In People v. Harris, Twitter sought to quash a subpoena it had received to...more

Maryland v. King: Possibly The Most Important Criminal Procedure Case in Decades

Many Supreme Court observers, including no less than Justice Samuel Alito himself, have described Maryland v. King as perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that the Court has decided in decades. While this may...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Warrantless Home Search

Supreme Court Upholds Warrantless Home Search Where One Occupant Consents Following Suspect’s Arrest - Overview: The Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can conduct warrantless home searches based upon one...more

Give Me Back My Books and Records: Application of Rule 41(g) in Response to Federal Search Warrants

In the past decade, federal law enforcement has been more aggressive in white collar investigations in utilizing search warrants, as opposed to subpoenas, to seize a company’s books and records. The statute of limitations...more

Warrant Required To Place GPS Tracking Device On Car

GPS technology can help you find your way home, but can police use it to track your car without a warrant? That’s the question the U.S. Supreme Court addressed earlier this year in United States v. Jones....more

Ordinance Authorizing Warrantless Inspections of Hotel Records is Unconstitutional

Motel owners challenged a Los Angeles Municipal Code provision requiring hotel guest records to be made available to any Los Angeles Police Department officer for inspection. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth...more

Federal Judge Rules NSA Data Collection Program Is Likely Unconstitutional

On December 16, 2013, a federal judge for the District of Columbia issued an injunction prohibiting the U.S. government from collecting telephonic metadata as part of a National Security Agency ("NSA") surveillance program....more

Evolving Expectations of Privacy: Klayman v. Obama

In a 68-page opinion, Federal District Judge Richard J. Leon of the District of Columbia ruled yesterday in Klayman v. Obama that the NSA's systematic collection of telephone metadata of millions of citizens violates the...more

The D.C. Circuit Holds That A Judge In D.C. Cannot Authorize A Bug In Maryland

The United States government thought that Lonnell Glover was a drug dealer. They tapped his phone, but he spoke in code so they couldn't get any evidence on him that way....more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Use of Deadly Force: Officers’ Pre-Shooting Conduct Included in the Totality of Circumstances Test...

Overview: Deputies shot and killed Shane Hayes inside his home. His daughter filed suit against the deputies and the county for excessive force, Fourth Amendment violations, negligent wrongful death and claims against the...more

Recent Fourth Amendment Decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court

The law regarding the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, is constantly changing. A warrant, which should be limited in scope and based on probable cause, is normally required to conduct a...more

Short Wins - Blog 100 Announcement Edition

1. United States v. Arreguin, Ninth Circuit: Appellant's motion to suppress evidence was denied by the District Court. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, directing the trial court to grant the motion to suppress....more

Understanding the Plain View Doctrine

The plain view doctrine is an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment, which allows law enforcement to seize incriminating items that are in plain view....more

Magistrate’s Issuance of Warrant Demonstrates that Officers’ Actions are “Objectively Reasonable” and Thus Entitled to Qualified...

A man brought a lawsuit against police officers alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. The officers conducted searches of his car, home, and workplace in connection with allegations that he disseminated indecent...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Qualified Immunity: Warrantless Entry in Hot Pursuit of Misdemeanant Not "Plainly Incompetent"

Overview: The U.S. Supreme Court recently reversed a Ninth Circuit decision denying qualified immunity to a California police officer in hot pursuit of a suspected misdemeanant. The suspect had entered an enclosed front yard...more

Appeals Court: Forced Rectal Search of Suspect Violates 4th Amendment

In a recent opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit addressed whether it was constitutionally reasonable for police to use a doctor – in this case, a doctor “who is known to conduct unconsented intrusive...more

Short Wins - A Twofer Week

Due to my own sloth, we're presenting two weeks of short wins in one post. Here it is! There are some good cases here, featuring the Armed Career Criminal Act, the Fourth Amendment, and law enforcement agents...more

Has Katz Become Quaint? Use Of Big Data To Outflank The Fourth Amendment

Introduction - On December 14, 2010, a federal court, upon a government motion, entered an order pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (SCA) requiring Twitter to turn over to the government subscriber information...more

The Nuts And Bolts Of Social Media Discovery

I recently addressed the general implications of the Stored Communications Act on locating and retrieving electronic evidence in a Law360 article entitled “A Hurdle to Obtaining Electronic Evidence.” As explained by the Ninth...more

Are Courts Diluting Protection From Unlawful Searches?

Evidence comes in many forms. What you say and the objects in your possession can be used against you by law enforcement officers if your statements and property are legally obtained. But what about the information on your...more

Illinois Criminalizes Electronic Vehicle Tracking With Limited Exceptions

Recently, Illinois enacted HB 1199, which makes it illegal for any person or entity in Illinois to use an electronic vehicle tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person....more

Video Surveillance: Surrendering Privacy For Safety?

Camera and other forms of surveillance have taken hold across the United States. After the April Boston Marathon bombings, the speed of identification and apprehension of suspects in the case was largely due to good police...more

Privacy During a Divorce: Illusion

The National Security Agency (NSA) was recently in the news when Edward Snowden disclosed that the United States have been spying on U.S. Citizens and foreign diplomats visiting the United States. American citizens were...more

The NSA Isn’t the Only One Tracking You

Working in the information technology (IT) field for over 10 years, I find that nothing surprises me anymore. Your information is out there, and there are many ways to track it. An attorney came to me recently and said a...more

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