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

Federal Agents Lacked Authority to Search Airplane Passenger’s Laptop, Court Says

A federal court this month found that federal agents lacked authority to conduct a warrantless search of a defendant’s laptop seized at an airport, rejecting the government’s argument that it has unfettered authority to...more

Supreme Court Update: Comptroller v. Wynne (13-485) And San Francisco v. Sheehan (13-1412)

We're back with the two remaining decisions from Monday, Comptroller v. Wynne (13-485) and San Francisco v. Sheehan (13-1412), two split decisions featuring strange bedfellows. The Justices' philosophical differences...more

Second Circuit Rules PATRIOT Act Does Not Authorize Government's Bulk Telephone Metadata Collection Program

In yet another reminder of the importance of maintaining the privacy of personal information, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in ACLU v. Clapper, issued a unanimous decision striking down the National Security Agency’s...more

Warrantless Searches of Text Messages: Big Brother in 160 Character Installments

The modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence surrounding warrantless searches of text messaging is varied and evolving, including issues currently facing Rhode Island and the rest of the nation. My paper focused primarily upon...more

Laptops, Border Checks and The Fourth Amendment

Developments in law are sluggish compared to the rapid rate of technological advancement, and courts must constantly apply old legal principles to technologies which were not contemplated at the time the laws were enacted. ...more

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals: Warrantless Cell Site Data Constitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting as a full panel, has ruled that law enforcement may acquire historical cell site data information (i.e., past location information) from wireless telecommunications...more

E-Discovery Update: When Personal and Work Data Collide

In the modern world, employees routinely receive work-related data on personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and access personal data on work-owned devices. ...more

Supreme Court Update: Rodriguez v. United States (13-9972); United States v. Wong (13-1074 And 13-7075); Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet,...

When is a sniff not up to snuff (as far as the Fourth Amendment is concerned)? Ten years ago, in Illinois v. Caballes (2005), the Court held that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop does not violate the Fourth...more

Riley and the Third-party Doctrine

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one groundbreaking opinion in two cases regarding cellphone searches incident to arrest. In a unanimous opinion, the court held that under the Fourth Amendment, police must...more

Federal Court Finds Hotel Room Ruse Violated Fourth Amendment

In a case testing the boundaries of how far the government can go when creating a ruse to access a suspect’s premises, a U.S. District Court in Nevada concluded that the government’s disruption of internet service to a hotel...more

Supreme Court Decides Rodriguez v. United States

On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Rodriguez v. United States, No. 13-9972, holding that, absent reasonable suspicion, the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from prolonging a traffic stop to conduct a dog...more

GPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders Is a Fourth Amendment Search

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Another Reminder that Sex Offender Restrictions are Under Scrutiny - Forcing someone to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor her or his location is a Fourth Amendment search, the U.S. Supreme...more

Privacy Settings Won’t Keep Social Media Posts Out Of Court

On Jan. 7, 2015, in Nucci v. Target Corp., et al, the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida, Fourth District, upheld a lower court’s order compelling plaintiff Maria Nucci to produce photographs originally posted...more

Another NY Appellate Division Holds that Appraisers have “No Right” to Inspect a Private Residence under the Fourth Amendment

We previously reported on a Second Department case that held a municipal agent (including a private appraiser hired by a municipality) is not automatically entitled to an inspection of a private residence to prepare an...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: California Court of Appeal Clarifies Eleventh Amendment Immunity for State Officials

Court Holds Sheriff Not Subject to Damages Under Section 1983 - Overview: The California Court of Appeal clarified that the Eleventh Amendment immunity does not apply in civil rights actions brought in California...more

Status Updates - January 2015

Fake-out stakeout. For several months now, we’ve been covering the increasingly prevalent use of social media by law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations. In one such instance, the FBI sent a link to a...more

It’s Reassessment Time in Indiana. Can the Tax Assessor Waltz into Your Home or Business?

Not under the U.S. Constitution. However, the chapter of Indiana’s property tax code addressing real property assessment provides that a county assessor or authorized representative “may, after first making known the...more

Supreme Court Update: Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. V. Owens (13-719) And Heien V. North Carolina (13-604)

Greetings, Court fans Long before he became Chief, John Roberts quipped that "[o]nly Supreme Court justices and schoolchildren are expected to and do take the entire summer off." Right now, the Justices are in the midst...more

Drone on Drones: New Court Decision Reflects Shifting Views on Privacy in Public

Whenever drone policy is raised as a topic, privacy concerns follow close behind it as a discussion point. The idea of aerial surveillance that is cheaper, less time-intensive and requires fewer man hours to get off the...more

Subscriber Does Not Have Fourth Amendment Privacy Interest in Own IP Data

In 2012, the Supreme Court decided the case of United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). Jones involved the government's use of a GPS tracking device on a vehicle and the information gleaned therefrom. The holding was...more

Supreme Court Update: Warger V. Shauers (13-517), Integrity Staffing Solutions V. Busk (13-433) And Order List

We're back with summaries of the first signed decisions of the term, Warger v. Shauers (13-517) on whether Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) precludes juror testimony during a proceeding in which a party seeks to secure a new...more

Court strikes down California’s “collect on arrest” DNA collection law

In November 2004, California enacted a law requiring that anyone arrested for a felony have their DNA collected. This amounted to a significant expansion of the prior law that allowed for collection of DNA after conviction. ...more

Remote Search Warrants and the Continued Threat to Privacy Rights

What were you doing Wednesday, November 5, 2014? If you are a staunch Republican, you might have been toasting the election results from the day before, dreamy-eyed and dancing. If you are a staunch Democrat, you might have...more

Supreme Court Update: Carroll V. Carman (14-212), Johnson V. City Of Shelby (13-1318) And Order List

Greetings, Court fans! We're back with decisions two and three of OT14 (did you already forget about Lopez v. Smith?) as well as last week's news of cert petitions granted and likely to be granted. Police officers...more

Privacy and Fourth Amendment Issues Among Legal Concerns for Law Enforcement Use of Body-Worn Cameras

While there are many considerations for police departments interested in using body-worn cameras in the field, including policy issues and deployment procedures, there are some legal — and somewhat controversial — hurdles...more

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