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

Supreme Court Decision — Warrantless Searches Okay If One Occupant Of Shared Residence Consents

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. With some exceptions, law enforcement must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before conducting a search of private property or...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

BB&K Police Bulletin: Warrantless Home Search

Supreme Court Upholds Warrantless Home Search Where One Occupant Consents Following Suspect’s Arrest - Overview: The Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can conduct warrantless home searches based upon one...more

Ordinance Authorizing Warrantless Inspections of Hotel Records is Unconstitutional

Motel owners challenged a Los Angeles Municipal Code provision requiring hotel guest records to be made available to any Los Angeles Police Department officer for inspection. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Qualified Immunity: Warrantless Entry in Hot Pursuit of Misdemeanant Not "Plainly Incompetent"

Overview: The U.S. Supreme Court recently reversed a Ninth Circuit decision denying qualified immunity to a California police officer in hot pursuit of a suspected misdemeanant. The suspect had entered an enclosed front yard...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

Are Courts Diluting Protection From Unlawful Searches?

Evidence comes in many forms. What you say and the objects in your possession can be used against you by law enforcement officers if your statements and property are legally obtained. But what about the information on your...more

Proposed NJ Bill Would Permit Police Cell Phone Search But May Help Protect Victim Rights In Car Accidents

Distracted driving in the United States injured an estimated 387,000 people in 2011 and killed 3,000 more. An increasing number of distractions each year involve the use of cell phones. No wonder, then, the New Jersey Senate...more

Supreme Court Weighs In On Drug-Sniffing Dogs

The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld Fourth Amendment constitutional protections against the unreasonable search and seizure tactics in Florida v. Jardines....more

Federal Judge Rejects NYPD’s ‘Stop and Frisk’ Policies

In a decision issued today that could potentially change the way police operate in the Big Apple, U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.) ruled that, for years, New York City police officers have been...more

Of Poisonous Trees And Their Fruit: Illegal Searches

Wat if I got 2 take him 2 da hospital wat do I say and dos marks on his neck omg. A text on a cell phone. Most text messages are not this dramatic and most text messages do not set off a firestorm of debate about...more

Week in Review - August 1, 2013

Some people spend more time with their smartphones than with their friends. This attachment to technology has a number of implications, and not just for a person’s social life. This week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals...more

Concerned About NSA Snooping? Perhaps You Should Be More Concerned About The DOJ And SEC

In 2008, Rajat Gupta made a handful of short phone calls to his friend Raj Rajaratnam. The information that Gupta conveyed to Rajaratnam in those phone calls is now likely to cost Gupta millions of dollars, two years in...more

CFPB: Spying to Protect the Consumer

It all began with a Bloomberg article. Although the CFPB spying on the financial habits of at least 10 million consumers seems to be a far cry from NSA's spying on the telephone calls, emails, snail mails, website usage, and...more

Math Test Equals Strip Search? It Just Doesn’t Add Up

Recently in Quebec, a high-school staff stripped searched a class of twenty eight sophomores before a math exam. ...more

Can The Police Search My Cell Phone Without Permission?

Many of us store our most intimate information on our mobile phones....more

Warrantless Searches of Electronic Communication

Recent news about federal executive agencies obtaining information on private citizens without warrants has many Americans concerned about an erosion of civil liberties. Both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the...more

A Legislative Solution to Prosecutors’ Tracking of Suspects Via Their Devices?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona underlined the importance of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and drew a line that law enforcement must not cross – all in the interest of...more

No Warrant Exception For Slow Pursuit Into Home Of A $14.99 Phone Charger Robber

Two police officers are being sued because they entered Charles Smith's home after he stole a $14.99 (presumably, before tax) phone charger from Walgreens. As the Sixth Circuit acknowledged: "But for the want of $14.99 or a...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

BB&K Police Chief Bulletin: Search of Vehicle “Black Box" - Admissible Evidence Captured by Vehicle’s Sensing Diagnostic Module

Overview: A California appellate court recently upheld the admission of evidence obtained from the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) of a vehicle impounded after a fatal crash. The SDM decides whether to deploy air bags based...more

Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Litigation/Courts: MSHA Medical Records Demand Raises Constitutional Issues

MSHA’s demand in 2010 for mine operators to disclose confidential medical and business records led to a court challenge alleging that it violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against warrantless search and seizure as well...more

Warrantless Entry Allowed In Response to 911 Call Where There Is Evidence Of Injury

Have you ever wondered, as a parent, as a child, or perhaps as a college roommate, what the police can do when you call 911 on behalf of another? In Stricker v. Twp. of Cambridge, Case No. 11-1998 (6th Cir. Jan. 14, 2013),...more

Your dumb smart phone will give you up to the police!

Your smart phone stores everything you expect to keep private, and in many states that information is readily available to the police! And police access to your private information may not even require a warrant. Will your...more

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