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 Appeals Court Questions State Senator's Order to Remove a Dissident from the Senate Building

Removal Order Could Have Violated the First Amendment - Salvador Reza, a member of a community group focused on protecting migrant workers, attended an Arizona Senate session during a legislative hearing on a...more

Government Dismisses Its Case After Warrantless Airport Laptop Search

The government has voluntarily dismissed its case against Jae Shik Kim, the South Korean businessman for whom Ifrah Law obtained a motion to suppress in federal court. In 2012, Mr. Kim was stopped by federal agents as he...more

Second Circuit Limits Government's Ability To Seize Assets Without A Warrant

In the recent decision United States v. Cosme, 14-1625-cr, a panel of the Second Circuit held that the government cannot seize and then hold a defendant's property pending the resolution of criminal charges without a judicial...more

Telemedicine Prescribers Should Read This Case: U.S. vs. Zadeh

Health care providers who use telemedicine for remote prescribing of controlled substances should pay close attention to an important case currently pending at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case will decide whether...more

Warrantless access to cell phone location data may be heard by the Supreme Court

A number of courts have considered whether the Fourth Amendment requires the government to obtain a warrant to access historical and/or real time cell phone geographic location information, known as CSLI. CSLI is cell site...more

4th Circuit holds that obtaining cellphone location information without a warrant is unconstitutional

We have been watching the warrantless search cases closely. Yesterday, (August 5, 2015), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that it was unconstitutional when law enforcement used their cell phone location information...more

Does the Government Have Carte Blanche to Retain Seized Data Indefinitely? In Amicus Brief to the Second Circuit, Policy Groups...

On July 29, 2015, BakerHostetler filed an amicus brief with the Second Circuit on behalf of the Center for Democracy and Technology, joined by five prominent nonprofit public interest groups, for the en banc rehearing of...more

Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter #53

We are pleased to present the 53rd edition of the Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter. This month, we highlight recent cases regarding compelled turnover of Facebook data, a revived securities class...more

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Privacy Rights for Los Angeles Hotel Operators

In a win for privacy advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a City of Los Angeles municipal ordinance permitting warrantless police searches of hotel registries is unconstitutional. The subject ordinance (Los Angeles...more

Supreme Court Invalidates Los Angeles Law Authorizing Warrantless Searches of Hotel Records

In City of Los Angeles v. Patel, the Supreme Court invalidated a Los Angeles law that allowed law enforcement officials to inspect hotel and motel guest registries at any time, without a warrant or administrative subpoena....more

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

A Border Search Doctrine Without Borders? A Court Pushes Back Against Searches of Laptops and Cellphones

Last year, the Supreme Court in Riley v. California (134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014)) recognized the unique characteristics of laptops and cellphones and held that police generally may not search the cellphone of an individual who has...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

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