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Tag Archives: Search & Seizure

Administrative – Search & Seizure – Slate Quarry – Repeated Warrantless Inspections (access required)

LeSueur-Richmond Slate Corp. v. Fehrer A Virginia slate quarry that was subjected to 25 warrantless inspections of its mining operations over a seven-month period under the state’s Mineral and Mine Safety Act and cited for 32 violations has no civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for illegal searches because neither the Act authorizing the searches nor the conduct of the searches violates the Fourth Amendment; the 4th Circuit affirms dismissal of appellant mine’s suit.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Protective Sweep – Meth-Lab Home (access required)

U.S. v. Jones Police had reasonable articulable suspicion to conduct a protective sweep of a home suspected of being a meth lab after arresting the husband of the couple charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth on an extradition warrant to Georgia, based on factors that included prior surveillance of the residence and the number of vehicles outside the home; the 4th Circuit upholds the protective sweep, but remands the case for resentencing of the husband in light of U.S. v. Simmons.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Strip Search – Public Residential Street – Knife Use — Unreasonable (access required)

U.S. v. Edwards Although police did not completely pull down defendant’s pants during a search incident to his arrest on a public residential street, but shone a flashlight down his pants and then used a knife to cut a sandwich baggie with suspected narcotics off defendant’s genitals, the search was a strip search that violated defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and the 4th Circuit vacates defendant’s drug conviction. Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Warrant Application – Leon — Good Faith Exception – Omitted Facts (access required)

U.S. v. McKenzie-Gude Although a search warrant application did not specifically connect defendant to the residence to be searched, police had obtained extensive detail from a woman whose nephew shared defendant’s strong interest in acquiring weapons and explosives, and who confiscated from her nephew’s bedroom chemicals and their safety data sheets, and reported her nephew’s statement that defendant had brought an AK-47 to her home.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Warrant Application – Child Pornography (access required)

U.S. v. Wellman Although a search warrant application did not include either an exemplar or description of an image alleged to be child pornography, the 4th Circuit declines to impose a bright-line requirement that such an application must include an image of the alleged pornography; the court upholds the search warrant and defendant’s conviction and sentence for possession of child pornography.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Pat Down – Reasonable Suspicion -Suspected Stalker (access required)

U.S. v. Glover Police who observed defendant at 4:40 a.m. near a gas station that had been robbed previously, in an area outside surveillance-camera range, apparently stalking the gas-station attendant, had reasonable suspicion to perform a stop-and-frisk, and the 4th Circuit upholds the pat down, admission of the gun in defendant’s pocket and his conviction for possession of a firearm as a felon.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Before Warrant Execution (access required)

U.S. v. Montieth A police affidavit detailing police discovery of marijuana packaging and residue in a trash pull outside defendant’s residence supported issuance of a search warrant for defendant’s home, and the police effort to safeguard defendant’s wife and young children during execution of the search warrant, by first detaining defendant in a traffic stop and searching the home after defendant’s wife and young children left, did not violate the Fourth Amendment; the 4th Circuit upholds defendant’s conviction on a drug and firearm charge under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1).

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Passenger Pat-Down – Reasonable Suspicion (access required)

U.S. v. Powell Although a radio call alerted an officer to a passenger’s “priors” for armed robbery, that “caution” and the passenger’s misrepresentation about his driver’s license did not provide a reasonable suspicion the passenger was armed and dangerous and allow a pat down, a 4th Circuit panel majority holds; saying it has made the same point in three recent cases, the appellate court vacates defendant’s crack cocaine conviction.

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Constitutional – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Administrative – Immigration – Green-Card Check (access required)

U.S. v. Guijon-Ortiz A police officer who questioned a pickup passenger’s alien legal residence card during a routine traffic stop did not violate the passenger’s Fourth Amendment rights when he extended the stop to call the local customs office to check the validity of the passenger’s identification, and the 4th Circuit affirms defendant passenger’s conviction for illegal reentry after deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Marijuana Possession – Mere Presence – Car’s Passenger (access required)

State v. Jackson Marijuana was found in a car in which defendant was a passenger. The marijuana was “under the center console where the gear shifter is, the plastic housing there.” Defendant and the driver - a friend of defendant’s son — had only met once previously, at defendant’s grandchild’s birthday party, and defendant accepted a ride from the driver because defendant’s license was suspended. These facts do not supply sufficient circumstantial evidence of knowledge to submit a marijuana possession charge to the jury.

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