Fourth Amendment Search & Seizure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern District Opinion Allows Seizure of Emails From Host Provider With Minimal Showing of Probable Cause

A Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge last week approved the government’s ability to conduct searches and seizures of entire email accounts stored by third-party providers like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Apple...more

Legal Updates for Government Entities Covering March and April 2014

The Gallaghers sued TUSD and a TUSD school employee, Michael Corum, alleging that Corum sexually abused and/or exploited their developmentally challenged daughter at a TUSD school. The Gallaghers claimed that TUSD was...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

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

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

BB&K Police Bulletin: DNA Collection - U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Cheek Swab Search

Overview: The United States Supreme Court has upheld a Maryland law authorizing police to collect a DNA sample from suspects charged with violent crimes. Using the cheek swab of an assault suspect in 2009, police were able to...more

California Moves One Step Closer to Passing Privacy Bill Requiring a Search Warrant for Providers' Customers' Emails

In a 33-1 vote, on May 13, the state Senate approved Senator Mark Leno's bill that would require state law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant before asking service providers to disclose the contents of their...more

Context, Content And Privacy In Warrantless Searches Of Cell Phone And Cameras

Context and content matters to the assessment of reasonable expectations of privacy in criminal law matters. Recently, in R. v. B. (C.), 2013 CarswellOnt 3851 (SCJ), P. Smith J. considered the constitutionality of a...more

Sixth Circuit Rules School’s Search Of Student Cellphone Violated Fourth Amendment

In a recent decision, the first federal appellate court to address the rights of school officials to search student cell phones held that a student’s violation of a school rule regarding technology did not justify a general...more

Court to Rule on Exceptions to Warrant Requirement for GPS Tracking

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit is set to become the first federal appellate court to answer the question left open by the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones. Last year, the Court held in Jones that a...more

BB&K Police Chief Bulletin: Custodial Arrest - Only Three Ways to Support Custodial Arrest for Suspected Infraction

Overview: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that police could not take into custody a person cited for an infraction (in this case, trespassing) unless the arrestee has no satisfactory identification, refuses...more

Is The IRS Reading Emails With A Search Warrant?

Last week, the ACLU created a stir when it suggested that the IRS may be reading taxpayers’ emails without obtaining a search warrant. At least at some point in time in the past, according to the IRS’ 2009 “Search Warrant...more

Be Careful When Searching Student Cell Phones, Sixth Circuit Warns

With text messages, Tweets, Facebook posts and other digital communications so prevalent in student’s lives, schools have been struggling to deal with the influx of mobile devices on campus. Last week, the Sixth U.S. Circuit...more

BB&K Police Chief Bulletin: K-9 Searches - Supreme Court Just Says No to K-9 Drug Sniffing on Porch

Overview: In a 5-4 decision,the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that a Florida police dog’s sniffing for drugs in front of a man’s home constituted an illegal search. Based on an unverified tip, police physically entered...more

Bill Introduced On Warrantless GPS Tracking

On March 21, a bipartisan group of legislators in the House of Representatives introduced a new bill, the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, which would force law enforcement to obtain a warrant to track suspects with...more

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