Fourth Amendment Warrantless Searches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth Amendment Precludes Inspection Of Private Property Even In Assessment Review Litigation

Recently there has been increasing debate regarding if and when assessing jurisdictions, or its agents, can invade the privacy of New York residents. Even New York’s governor has been impacted by this issue. Last week, the...more

Second Circuit Finds Fourth Amendment Violation in Law Enforcement Retention of Computer Files Not Within Scope of Search Warrant

On June 17, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a significant Fourth Amendment decision in United States v. Ganias. The decision is premised on the well-established notion that, because of...more

Five Lessons for Employers from California v. Riley

In the waning days of its current term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in California v. Riley that police officers generally violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches by conducting a...more

Supreme Court Decides Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Riley v. California, No. 13-132, and United States v. Wurie, No. 13-212, holding that police must generally obtain a warrant before searching a cell phone...more

Supreme Court Relies on Reed Smith Brief in Cell Phone Search Cases

The Supreme Court decided Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie yesterday, June 25, and unanimously held that the search incident to arrest doctrine does not allow law enforcement officers to search data on cell...more

Court: Police Need Warrant to Search Phone. But Guess What? They Get to Keep Your Phone While They Get One.

Will cops still get access to cell phone data post arrest? You bet. Today’s Supreme Court decision just means they need to get permission from a judge before they start searching who you have been texting. And odds are very...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Officers Must Obtain Warrant to Access Data on Arrestee's Mobile Phone Device

Overview: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police officers may not search digital information on a mobile phone device seized from a person who has been arrested without a warrant. In Riley v. California and U.S. v....more

U.S. v. Ganias: Second Circuit Limits Government’s Ability to Use Electronic Material Seized Beyond Scope of Warrant for Different...

In a recent decision that provides important guidance in the developing law related to government seizure of electronic records in criminal investigations, on June 17, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second...more

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