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Tag Archives: Search & Seizure

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Warrantless Search – Search Incident to Arrest – Exclusionary Rule – Subsequent Guidance (access required)

State v. Brown When the arresting officer searched the vehicle in which defendant had been riding, he was following valid U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Although the Supreme Court has since changed its mind about the prerequisites for a warrantless search incident to arrest, excluding the fruits of the search in this case would not serve the purpose of the exclusionary rule: to deter future Fourth Amendment violations.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Estimated Speed (access required)

U.S. v. Mubdi The 4th Circuit upholds a traffic stop based on two officers’ separate visual estimates of defendant’s speed, as the officers’ radar certification training required them to visually estimate vehicle speed within a narrow margin of error; the subsequent open-air search by a drug-sniffing dog did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and his convictions for cocaine and firearms possession are affirmed.

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Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Arrest – Probable Cause (access required)

Trapp v. Tolbert One of the perpetrators of a home invasion, Jermaine Belton, identified plaintiff as the other home invader. Although Belton changed his story at defendant’s trial, Belton’s new version of events runs counter not only to his statement to law enforcement but also to his pleading guilty under oath and affirming plaintiff’s participation in the crime.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Probable Cause — Traffic Stop – Visual Speed Estimate — Insufficient (access required)

U.S. v. Sowards A deputy’s visual estimate of a driver’s speed – uncorroborated by radar or pacing and unsupported by any other indicia of reliability – did not provide probable cause to stop the driver for driving 75 in a 70-mph zone, and the 4th Circuit says the district court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine discovered in the car after the traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Consent – Involuntary – Exit Blocked (access required)

U.S. v. Jones Police in a high-crime area who followed a car with four African-American occupants and out-of-state tags onto private property and blocked the car’s exit, then questioned the driver and asked him to lift his shirt and consent to a pat-down, violated the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights, and the 4th Circuit reverses the district court’s refusal to suppress a firearm and marijuana found by police.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – ‘Protective Sweep’ – Gun Seizure (access required)

U.S. v. Laudermilt Police responding to four quick 911 “domestic” calls relating to a couple they knew did not exceed defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when, after arresting defendant and making a protective sweep to locate defendant’s 14-year-old autistic brother, they asked the brother where the reported gun was and he pointed to a rifle in a gun rack; the 4th Circuit reverses the district court order suppressing the firearm.

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Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Tort/Negligence – Trespass & Assault — Bail Bondsman – No Qualified Immunity (access required)

Gregg v. Ham A bail bondsman pursuing a fugitive in his home neighborhood must pay $100,000 to a disabled woman whose home the bondsman surveilled and searched; the 4th Circuit says the bail bondsman is not entitled to qualified immunity from the woman’s § 1983 claim and the district court did not err in submitting the immunity issue to the jury.

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