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Each time a suspect encounters a police officer he has two choices. He can peacefully submit and cooperate or resist. If he does the first he is guaranteed a safe encounter. If he does the second he is setting into motion a wildly unpredictable event that could lead to his demise. The choice is his to make. The police officer can only react.

 

Case Law 4 Cops contains information on hundreds of court cases. These cases are important to officers and citizens alike. The cases cover what officers can and cannot do in several areas of law. Follow the links below.

New Cases

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Birchfield v. North Dakota, No. 14-1468 (SCOTUS 2016)-North Dakota passed a law that made it an additional crime to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test for driving drunk. Birchfield refused to submit to a blood draw. He was charged for that offense. He appealed.

The Supreme Court held: The Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests.

Stop & Frisk-

Utah v. Strieff, 14-1373 (SCOTUS 2016)-Det Fackrell got an anonymous tip of a drug house in Salt Lake City. He watched the house for a week. He observed several people make brief stops at the house. He saw Strieff exit the house. The detective detained him nearby. He obtained Strieff’s identification and ran a warrant check on him. He had a traffic warrant and was arrested. He was searched and methamphetamine was found on him. Strieff moved to have the evidence excluded as the fruit of an unlawful seizure. The trial court denied the motion, but the Utah Supreme Court ordered the evidence suppressed. The Supreme Court held that there was no flagrant police misconduct. The discovery of a pre-existing untainted arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence being found. The evidence can be used against Strieff.

Surveillance-

US v. Graham, No. 12-4659 (4th Cir 2016)-The defendants were being investigated for a series of armed robberies. The Government obtained the historical cell-site location information from the defendants' cell phone provider without a warrant. This information provided the location of the cell tower (usually the nearest) that transmitted a signal when the defendants used their cell phones. The information was used to place the defendants in the areas of the robberies when they occurred. The Court held that individuals have no expectation of privacy in information shared with third-parties (in this case the cell phone provider receiving information on the tower location). There is no Fourth Amendment violation.

Stop & Frisk-

Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (SCOTUS 2006)-Pursuant to a California statute—which requires every prisoner eligible for release on state parole to “agree in writing to be subject to search or seizure by a parole officer or other peace officer . . . , with or without a search warrant and with or without cause”, an officer searched Samson and found methamphetamine. He was arrested. The Court held: The suspicionless search of the parolee Samson did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

K-9 case-

US v. Whitaker, Nos. 14-3290 and 14-3506 (7th Cir. 2016)-The officer went to an apartment complex where the apartments share a locked common hallway. The officer obtained consent to search the hallway with a drug dog. The dog alerted on Whitaker's apartment door. The officer obtained a search warrant and found drugs and a gun in the apartment. Whitaker was arrested.

The Court held: The use of a dog was the same as using a super-sensitive instrument described in Kyllo v. US. The use of the dog was a search of not just the hall, but of Whitaker's apartment. The Supreme Court held in the Florida v. Jardines case that an officer could not enter the curtilage of a home to perform a dog sniff of the front door. The apartment hallway is not curtilage, but a person still has an expectation of privacy from warrantless dog sniffs at his apartment door. The sniff was an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

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Police Questioning

Counsel
Deception
Informant
Interview/Interrogation
Miranda Warning
Undercover Officer

Search & Seizure