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

SCOTUS Extends Same-Sex Marriage Rights Nationwide

As has become its custom, the Supreme Court left one of its most high-profile decisions for the end of its term, holding by a 5-4 vote that the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. As a result, state...more

Supreme Court Decides City of Los Angeles v. Patel

On June 22, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided City of Los Angeles v. Patel, No. 13-1175, holding that facial challenges can be brought under the Fourth Amendment and that a municipal ordinance requiring hotel operators to...more

City of Los Angeles vs. Patel Update: U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Warrantless Searches of Guest Registries

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a law enacted by the City of Los Angeles requiring hotel owners to comply with warrantless inspections of their guest registries upon demand by law enforcement officers. The High Court,...more

Law Enforcement in the 21st Century: How The Courts Are Responding

As published in PublicCEO* The world of law enforcement is changing rapidly. In the last few years, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds altering the way police officers do just about everything. New technology...more

Seizure of memory cards from digital cameras allowed under plain view doctrine

Courts today are faced with applying traditional Fourth Amendment search and seizure doctrines to twenty-first century digital technology. In one such case, the Massachusetts Appellate Court upheld a lower court’s holding in...more

DANGER – “General” Search Warrants in the Digital Age

If you knew that there was a chance—maybe even a good chance—that a law enforcement officer could gain access to every single text, email, photograph and voice mail on your smartphone, going back years, because you were...more

Drone on Drones: Justice Department Drone Policy Emphasizes Privacy and Transparency

Federal agencies deploying surveillance drones in domestic airspace will be required to conduct annual privacy reviews, the Department of Justice announced last week. The new policy aims to require DOJ employees to assess the...more

Think your Cellphone Usage is Private? Think Again

In a closely-watched case out of Miami, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals redefined the zone of privacy for cell phone users. As the Tech World was focused on Miami for the second annual eMerge conference, the court...more

Warrantless Laptop Search Suppressed In Sixth Circuit

On May 20, 2015, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the warrantless search of a laptop exceeded the scope of a preceding private search, and was therefore unconstitutional....more

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

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