FLORIDA MANDATES SEARCH WARRANT TO SEARCH CELL PHONE OF IN CUSTODY SUSPECTS

The Florida Supreme Court held this month, that once a cell phone is seized from a suspect who is in custody, the police need a search warrant to view the contents on the phone. Tyrone Smallwood was a arrested for a robbery of a convenience store. While he wore a mask the cashier recognized his voice as that of a regular customer. At the time of his arrest police seized his cell phone. After Smallwood was arrested and placed in […] Read more »

MIRANDA WARNINGS AND THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING

There are many interesting legal issues surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing. Today I would like to discuss the Miranda Warning issue. Peace officers investigating the Boston Marathon bombing did not read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights prior to interrogating him. As any watcher of crime programs on TV knows the cops are supposed to tell a defendant that she/he has the right to remain silent; the right to have his/her attorney present during there questioning and that anything they say […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS DENIAL OF HABEAS CORPUS DESPITE MIRANDA VIOLATION

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Dyer v. Hornbeck, decided last week demonstrates the importance of attempting to win a criminal case in the trial court or on direct appeal instead of relying on a writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court. The rules on habeas are set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Where an issue has been decided by a state court, on its merits, a Federal Court cannot grant a […] Read more »

COURT DENIES SUPPRESSION OF GUN AND SHELLS

Police Officers Derek Sullivan and Emmett Macken observed a small group of men outside a rooming house in Manchester, New Hampshire known for drug activity. It appeared as if a drug deal was in progress. The officers followed two of the men, Joshua Lacy and Bryan Bleau to a parking lot behind the residence. Bleau and Lacy were joined by a third man. A black Honda arrived and Bleau got in the passenger side. The car drove away. After a […] Read more »

TENTH CIRCUIT REVERSE GRANT OF SUMMARY JUDGEMENT IN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTION

On September 7, 2007, the Los Lunas, New Mexico Police Department received an annonomous phone call reporting a domestic argument at the residence of Michael Storey. When officers arrived they knocked on the door. Storey answered. There was no evidence of any dispute or violence. They asked him to step outside. When he refused they arrested him. He sued and the officers filed for summary judgement granted summary judgement. It was granted and he appealed. In order to arrest someone, […] Read more »

ARIZONA POLICE BEGIN ENFORCING S.B. 1070

Last June the Supreme Court upheld the part of Arizona’s immigration law (S.B. 1070) that required police officers when making an arrest to demand that a person provide proof that he/she is in the country legally. This week the the Huffington Post reports the U.S. District Court in Arizona gave the state permission to begin enforcing the law. But the litigation is not over. While the Supreme Court said that the section was constitutional on its face there will certainly […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS ARREST AND STRIP SEARCH MEETS CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Tyron D. Freeman, a petty drug dealer, with a long history of drug convictions was arrested in Springfield, Illinois in a drug sting run by the local police with the help of a couple of snitches. One of the snitches told the police that dealers—“Big D” (Freeman) and “Worm” (Brent Garner) drove around town in a silver minivan selling crack. The snitch also told the officers that Freeman often kept the dope between his buttocks and that he suffered from […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT DENIES GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY FOR FALSE ARREST UNDER FCTA

U. S Marshals, working with local police including the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department arrested 10,733 individuals, including Paula Milligan,who were waned on warrants as part of Operation Falcon III in October 2006. The problem is that they got the wrong Paula Milligan. The warrant gave Milligan’s height, weight, age and driver’s license information. All of that information for the arrestee was different than for the Paula Milligan who was on the lam. Police officials made at least three errors in […] Read more »

ARRESTS FOR VIDEOTAPING EXCESSIVE FORCE

Simon Glik saw an officer arresting a man in the Boston Common. There was some question as to whether the officer was using excessive force. Glik, being a good Samaritan takes out his cell phone to video the event. Does Glik get rewarded for his efforts. No he gets arrested. The charges are eventually dropped. He sues and on appeal gets compensation. The incident is not particularly unusual. Many jurisdictions have laws against wiretapping and they are being used by […] Read more »