Search & Seizure Fourth Amendment

News & Analysis as of

The Supreme Court - June 2016 #6

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in five cases on June 23, 2016: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, No. 14-981: Petitioner Abigail Fisher applied for admission to the University of Texas at...more

En Banc Fourth Circuit Rules No Fourth Amendment Protection For Cell-Site Location Information

On May 31, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held in United States v. Graham, Nos. 12-4659 and 12-4825, in an en banc rehearing, that the government’s acquisition of historical cell-site location...more

California Telecom Providers File Suit to Protect Competitively Sensitive Information

On May 5, AT&T Mobility along with several other telecommunications providers and trade associations filed a complaint in the Northern District of California against the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”)...more

Government Access to Private Data: Microsoft Opens a New Front in the Battle for Consumer Privacy

Prior to the Information Age, sensitive papers were stored in file cabinets and drawers. When home computers arrived, information was digitized and moved to hard drives or other electronic media, still possessed by the user....more

Ninth Circuit Addresses Probationers’ Cell Phone Searches by Police

The centrality of cell phones to our daily lives, and the wide array of sensitive information those phones may carry, creates a complex and ever-evolving series of issues over the amount of privacy we can expect to be...more

Police Make iPhone Public Enemy No. 1

FBI Director James Comey took a rare break from the posturing typical of investigators and prosecutors in the current showdown between Apple and the FBI. While prosecutors argue that Apple’s privacy concerns are a smokescreen...more

California Gives the Fourth Amendment a 21st Century Makeover

The average American today generates more media than they did at any other point in history, and the ease with which our communications, photos, and videos are sent and stored digitally means most of us have more media stored...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

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

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