Courts Continue to Examine Digital Electronic Privacy Issues

Case Law: Search and Seizure of Digital Electronics In a separate web posting I detailed the ruling and background pertaining to Riley v. California, a 2014 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that police cannot search the contents of a smart phone (or flip-top phone) without a warrant. The ruling generally was viewed by legal pundits and others as a victory for individual privacy rights, but other Fourth Amendment issues related to high-tech devices remained up in the air.   Following the decision, legal questions surrounding warrantless police searches of other electronics such as laptop and desktop computers have [...]

SCOTUS Update: Los Angeles v. Patel

  Supreme Court strikes down Los Angeles law allowing police to examine hotel registries without a warrant Last year I blogged about Los Angeles vs. Patel. In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision.   The hoteliers took victory in the privacy-rights arena when the U.S. Supreme Court essentially struck down a City of Los Angeles law that had resulted in warrantless spot checks of their business records. Officially, the city ordinance required hotel operators to keep specified information about their customers for 90 days and to make the details available to police whenever they [...]

What is Constructive Possession?

  Possession does dot always Mean that it's in Your Pocket One of those reality TV crime shows caught my eye the other night with an incident involving a female motorist. She was driving along a Western interstate highway and made a few erratic moves after passing a cop who was moving along the slower lane. The cop pulled her over because he sensed that she was impaired in some fashion. He asked if she had been drinking; she said no. He asked about drug use; she said no. Still, she appeared nervous, and so he asked if he could [...]

By |2015-10-06T01:47:04+00:00October 6th, 2015|Categories: Drug Crimes, Property Crimes, Search and Seizure|Tags: |

Are Strip Searches in Jails Legal?

  Florence vs. County of Burlington: United States Supreme Court Rules Strip Searches in Jails are always Legal Recently, I had a client who was charged with with simple possession of marijuana. He was actually arrested for an outstanding traffic ticket attachment when the deputies allegedly found a joint on him after a strip search. My first thought in this case was, "Is it legal for a jail to strip search someone who has been arrested for a simple traffic ticket?" The deputies actions seemed a little overzealous to me. It sounded like a 4th Amendment violation against unlawful search [...]

Warrantless Search & Seizure of Computers

  Issues of Privacy Rights Pertaining to Computers and other Electronic Devices Winding Their Way Through the Courts In a separate web posting I detailed the ruling and background pertaining to Riley v. California, a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that police cannot search the contents of a cell phone without a judicial warrant. The ruling generally was viewed by legal pundits and others as a victory for individual privacy rights, but other Fourth Amendment issues related to high-tech devices remained up in the air. Following the decision, legal questions surrounding warrantless police searches of other electronic tools [...]

SCOTUS: Cops Need a Warrant to Search Cell Phones

  Riley v. California: Supreme Court of the United States Says Law Enforcement May Not Look at Contents of Cell Phone without Warrant Can a cop seize your smart phone or flip-top phone and have his way with it -- combing through such devices (despite the lack of a search warrant) in a desperate effort to find incriminating evidence against you? The U.S. Supreme Court last year finally addressed the issue, perhaps with an eye toward ensuring future protection of an individual’s Fourth Amendment (privacy) rights pertaining to other high-tech devices, such as laptop computers. But first, allow me to [...]