Warrantless Searches

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

Northern District of California Requires A Warrant to Access Cellphone Geographic Information

We previously reported that government access to cellphone geographic information or CSLI without a warrant has become a vigorous debate between the government, defense attorneys, and the federal bench. In a lengthy opinion,...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

California Bill Requiring Mobile, Cloud Search Warrants Advances

On July 14, 2015, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“Cal-ECPA”) unanimously passed the California State Assembly’s public safety committee. The bill would forbid warrantless cellular “stingrays” as well...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

City of Los Angeles v. Patel — US Supreme Court voids LA ordinance requiring hotel operators to turn over guest records on demand

US Supreme Court voids Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotel operators to turn over guest records on demand. In a 5-4 opinion rendered on June 22, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that a Los Angeles municipal...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Warrantless Searches of Hotel Guest Registries

Hotels possess a treasure trove of private information about their guests. Everything from the guest’s name, address, credit card and vehicle information to the number of guests in the party, arrival and departure dates and...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

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Prolonging Traffic Stop to Conduct Dog Sniff is Unconstitutional

Overview: Police may not extend a routine traffic stop to give a police dog time to conduct a search for narcotics, the United States Supreme Court held this week. The Court determined that, absent reasonable suspicion,...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

Searching Student Smart Phones in The Wake of Riley V. California

In the recent, landmark case of Riley v. California, the United States Supreme Court held that the police may not search digital data on the cell phone of an arrestee without a warrant, reasoning that smart phones not only...more

Drone on Drones: The (Dated) Law of the Skies

In the 1980s, the Supreme Court issued two decisions that remain the prevailing authority on law enforcement’s practice of warrantless, aerial surveillance. In California v. Ciraolo, the Court held that a police officer...more

Can the Police Look at My Cell Phone Without a Warrant? #CriminalDefenseAttorney

For the past century, the United States Supreme Court has given the police the right to search (without a warrant) a person who has been legally arrested. See Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 392 (1914). Unfortunately,...more

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