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 [...]

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 [...]

Are You the Cable Guy or the FBI?

  Are you the cable guy or the FBI?     There is an interesting case before a U.S. Federal District Court in the Las Vegas area. The issue for the judge to decide is whether FBI agents can disconnect a utility service to an abode and then, disguise themselves as repairmen in order to gain entry and covertly search the premises in hopes of finding evidence that might justify the issuance of a search warrant. The defendants in this case are a group of Chinese high rollers who are accused of running an illegal gambling operation from their Las [...]

Dealing with Police Encounters — Know Your Rights!

  Ten Rules for Dealing with the Police -- Know Your Rights!   By:Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter     The 4th amendment of the Bill of Rights provides for people and their property to have the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Law enforcement must have probable cause to obtain a search warrant.  Probable Cause is defined as clear facts and evidence to know that you are involved in criminal activity.  Never let the police search your vehicle or home without a warrant -- even if you feel as if you have nothing to hide.   1.  Always be [...]

Can the Police Search My Car?

Drug Possession Distribution Attorney Louisiana Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. -- New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney       The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches. The amendment applies to government agents, like police officers. It does not apply to searches by private individuals. This protection extends to automobile searches, but it is not absolute. However, if a court finds that evidence was taken during an unlawful vehicle search, the court will not allow the prosecution to use that evidence.   Searches and Your Expectation of Privacy A "search" can occur when a governmental agent intrudes in [...]

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