SUPREME COURT REQUIRES SEARCH WARRANT BEFORE THE NONCONSENSUAL TAKING OF A BLOOD SAMPLE

The Supreme Court, today, in Missouri v. McNeely refused to grant the State of Missouri a per se rule allowing the warrantless taking of a blood sample to determine the blood alcohol level, in cases of suspected driving under the influence. In a driving under the influence of alcohol case the question that the jury must answer is whether at the time the defendant was driving was she/he under the influence. There are a number of methods of determining whether […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS THE RIGHT OF A RESIDENT TO PREVENT AN OFFICER AND A POLICE DOG FROM ENTERING THE FRONT PORCH

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. Jardines that a police officer may not enter the area surrounding a house with with a drug sniffing dog in order to obtain probable cause to get a search warrant for the house. Miami-Dade Police Officers Douglas Bartelt and William Pedraja entered the porch in front of Jardine’s residence with a police dog trained to smell marijuana. The dog indicated that there was marijuana in the residence. Based on this information Bartelt […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT LIMITS THE DETENTION OF RESIDENTS OF A BUILDING SUBJECT TO A SEARCH WARRANT TO THOSE IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE BUILDING

As I predicted The Supreme Court reviewed and reversed the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Bailey v. United States. The police obtained a search warrant for 103 Lake Drive, Wyandanch, New York. While they were outside the apartment house and before anyone knew of their presence two officers saw Chunon Bailey and Bryant Middleton leave the building, get in a car, and drive away. The officers followed them. They stopped the vehicle approximately a mile away and transferred […] Read more »

U. S. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS NARCOTICS DOG SEARCH

The United States Supreme Court today ruled today in Florida v. Harris that training records of a police narcotics dog are sufficient for a finding of probable cause to search an automobile. Liberty County Sheriff K–9 Officer William Wheetley stopped a vehicle driven by Clayton Harris because of an expired license tag. He noticed signs consistent with methamphetamine use. Harris refused to give consent to a search of the vehicle. Wheetley brought out Aldo, a trained narcotics dog. Aldo, who […] Read more »

ELEVENTH CIRCUIT DENIES GRANT OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST CLAIM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Miami Beach police received an anonymous tip that drugs were being sold from Janet Feliciano’s apartment. They knocked on her door and entered the apartment, despite her refusal to give consent. They claimed that they could smell marijuana and that they saw her significant other holding a marijuana cigarette. She denied that there was marijuana in the residence and that her significant other was holding a marijuana cigarette. They searched the entire apartment including her lingerie drawer and the pantry. […] 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 »

SIXTH CIRCUIT REVERSES DENIAL OF SUMMARY JUDGEMENT ON QUALIFIED IMMUNITY GROUNDS

Sheila Hensley and her son McClellan Hensley, Jr. were awakened from their sleep at 3:15 am on April 13, 2008 by a tow truck attempting to tow away a car held in the name of Sheila’s husband. It was the repo-man, working on behalf of a lien holder on the vehicle. However Sheila and her husband were up to date on the payment and their was no reason to repossess the vehicle. Sheila and McClellan went out to see what […] 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 FINDS NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN CELL PHONE GPS DATA

James Michael West was a major marijuana dealer in Memphis, Tennessee. He obtained marijuana by the truckload from Philip Apodaca in Tucson, Arizona. Melvin Skinner delivered the marijuana to West and the money to Apodaca. In January 2006 Christopher S. Shearer was stopped in Texas with $362,000 destined for Apodaca from West. Shearer, presumably to help himself, spilled the beans. He told the DEA how the operation worked. He did not know Skinner’s name but called him “Big Foot.” West […] Read more »