Some criticism of police is protected speech, yet contempt of cop cases are often masked as disorderly conduct, resisting, and obstructing an officer charges. In Houston v. Hill, the Supreme Court said a man who shouted at police “pick on someone my size” engaged in protected First Amendment speech.
search and seizure
Police nationwide may not delay drivers longer than it takes to conduct the usual business of a traffic stop unless they have reasonable suspicion that the vehicle might contain illegal contraband, according to a new U.S. Supreme Court decision. Defense lawyers will now be able to challenge the lack of reasonable suspicion if police held a driver on a mere hunch or based on some form of criminal profile.
Secret Technology Flouts Wiretap Laws “‘Inhibiting law enforcement’s rights are second to protecting mine!’ (Florida Circuit Court Judge Frank) Sheffield thundered, gesturing with both hands and fixing his gaze on the prosecutor.” That is how the Washington Post described a Florida judge’s response to a prosecutor who tried to deny a defendant information about sophisticated […]
Unpublished Decision Reverses Earlier Precedent Courts lately seem to find ever more twisted logic to explain away constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures – a right the constitution says “shall not be violated.” The United States Supreme Court took a broadaxe to the Fourth Amendment when it declared in United States v. Calandra, 414 […]
Exclusionary Rule Further Eroded Is it reasonable for a police officer not to know the law? The United States Supreme Court recently said yes, sometimes. What’s more, the court provided an incentive for police to adopt expansive interpretations of the law until a court tells them otherwise. In a December 15, 2014 decision, the court […]
Landmark Decision Advances Digital Privacy In a decision that could effect countless ongoing cases, the United States Supreme Court has determined that police cannot search an arrested suspect’s cell phone without a warrant. The unanimous June 25, 2014 decision was immediately hailed as a landmark contribution to digital era privacy rights. The court heard arguments […]
A sheriff sneaks into your farm field in the early hours of the morning to plant a camera. Is it legal or not? The question came up in Rogers County when the office of Sheriff Scott Walton apparently placed a camera somewhere on 400 acres of farmland owned by county commissioner Kirt Thaker. Walton said […]
Americans’ Fourth Amendment right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” ranks among the most zealously protected freedoms we enjoy in the United States. Yet an ever-growing list of exceptions appears to erode those fundamental freedoms. Lawmakers in both Oklahoma and Tennessee recently voted to stop some […]
It’s the epitome of invasive law enforcement. Police seek warrants for body cavity searches when they claim to suspect someone has secreted illegal drugs in their private parts. On other occasions, police have conducted invasive searches without warrants. Sometimes so-called cavity searches involve probing inside a driver’s undergarments during traffic stops. Recent lawsuits allege officers […]
The nationwide investigative journalism project ProPublica has released a report detailing nightmare scenarios surrounding the widely used civil forfeiture process. Under civil asset forfeiture laws state, local and federal agencies routinely seize property from individuals who sometimes have not been convicted – or even charged – with a crime. According to ProPublica, the city of […]
A private company’s seizure of cash from motorists along a 21-mile length of I-40 in Caddo County has raised the ire of at least one judge. A Caddo County District Attorney nonetheless says he plans to “move forward” with a drug interdiction program that has had a private agency stopping and seizing cash from motorists. […]