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Tag Archives: Search & Seizure

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Bicyclist – Appeals — Evidence – Motion in Limine (access required)

State v. Abraham Where the trial court did not rule on defendant’s motion to suppress, and where defendant did not object when the evidence at issue was presented at trial, defendant failed to preserve for appellate review his argument that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Illegal Entry – Consent to Search (access required)

U.S. v. Hill Police who did not expect to find defendant at his girlfriend’s home entered the home illegally, but they had the girlfriend’s valid consent to search the home; however, the 4th Circuit remands the case to the district court to decide whether the taint from the initial illegal entry was dissipated by the girlfriend’s consent.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Odor of Marijuana – Drug Dog (access required)

State v. Morris Even though a drug dog did not alert on the vehicle defendant was driving, since (1) the arresting officer had smelled marijuana several minutes earlier, (2) defendant was not an authorized driver of the rented vehicle, and (3) there were hollowed-out cigars and loose tobacco in the vehicle, the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the duration and scope of the traffic stop, and he had probable cause to search the vehicle’s trunk. We affirm the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of the search.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Reasonable Suspicion — Terry Stop – Known Drug Location (access required)

State v. Burgess Narcotics Investigator Lutz had reasonable suspicion to stop defendant: At the time Lutz activated his blue lights, he was aware the Hardee’s parking lot was a known meeting location for drug sales and had personal knowledge of frequent complaints of drug activity in the parking lot. Lutz observed a Jeep parked at the back of the parking lot. Its occupants were not eating and appeared to be waiting for someone. Lutz observed defendant enter the parking lot and park haphazardly. The passenger from the Jeep entered the rear passenger seat of defendant’s car with his hand extended while defendant looked in his direction.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Anonymous Tip – ‘Shots Fired’ – High Crime Neighborhood – ‘Nervous’ Man – Pat-Down — Unreasonable (access required)

U.S. v. Massenburg Police officers responding to an anonymous tip about “shots fired” in a high-crime neighborhood, who saw four young men several blocks from the reported gunfire, did not have reasonable, particularized suspicion to conduct a pat-down of one of the young men who appeared nervous and refused consent to search; the 4th Circuit reverses defendant’s conviction on marijuana and firearm charges.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Car Search – Gant (access required)

U.S. v. Wilks A police officer who stopped defendant for an expired license plate, discovered he had a suspended license and then cuffed him and put him into the patrol car when defendant kept trying to reach under his seat, conducted a search that was legal and objectively reasonable at the time, and the district court should not have suppressed the gun and ammo found in the car by applying the subsequent decision in Arizona v. Gant, that outlawed such searches.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Evidence Suppression – Traffic Stop – Oxycodone  (access required)

U.S. v. Digiovanni The 4th Circuit upholds suppression of 34,091 Oxycodone pills found in defendant’s rental car because the trooper who stopped defendant’s car on I-95 for tailgating violated defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when the trooper spent the next 15 minutes asking defendant about drugs, and defendant involuntarily consented to a vehicle search.

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U.S. 4th Circuit smacks down flawed searches (access required)

A pair of rare conviction reversals by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on search-and-seizure grounds signal that contrary to the assumptions of many in the defense bar, it’s worthwhile to challenge government evidence on Fourth Amendment grounds, defense attorneys told Lawyers Weekly. However, the reversals shouldn’t be interpreted as an ideological sea change on one of the most conservative federal courts in the nation, attorneys said.

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

U.S. v. Doyle The 4th Circuit reverses defendant's child pornography conviction because evidence seized pursuant to a deficient search warrant should not have come in under the Leon good-faith exception; information provided to the local magistrate did not show when defendant allegedly possessed pictures of nude children and whether the alleged pictures were in fact child pornography under Virginia law.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Unregistered Motel Guest -Sentencing – Crack Cocaine (access required)

U.S. v. Bullard Drug evidence found in a suitcase belonging to defendant, an unregistered motel guest, need not be suppressed, the 4th Circuit says, even if searching the suitcase went beyond a "protective sweep"; and the 4th Circuit joins its sister circuits and holds that the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 does not apply retroactively to allow defendant to be resentenced on a crack cocaine offense.

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