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.
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.
US v. Pina, No. 15-13542 (11th Cir. 2016)-A trooper contacted a passenger bus driver at a truck stop and asked permission to do a k-9 sniff of his bus. He got the permission and his k-9 alerted to drugs being on board. He removed the baggage and ran the dog around it. The dog alerted on Pina's baggage. The trooper search it and found two large sealed metal cans of peppers. He opened one and found cocaine in it. Pina was arrested. The court held that the search of the bus and all the baggage falls under the automobile search warrant exception. The search of Pina's baggage and opening the can without a warrant was lawful.
Perea v. Baca, No. 14-2214 (10th Cir. 2016)-Officers stopped Perea for running a stop sign on his bike. They gave Perea no warning or commands before chasing him on foot and pushing him off of his bike. He resisted. He was shot with Taser probes. The officer followed with 9 more shocks in "stun mode". Perea ultimately died. The court held that the officers used excessive force:
1. The use of the Taser 10 times in two minutes was disproportional to the seriousness of Perea's crime.
2. Perea did not pose a threat to anyone which would justify such use of force.
3. Perea’s resistance (thrashing and swinging a crucifix) did not justify the officers’ severe response.
US v. Carloss, 13-7082 (10th Cir, 2016)-Carloss lived in a house that had posted "No Trespassing" signs in several locations around his house, including on the front door. Police disregarded the signs and did a knock-and-talk. They were investigating a report that Carloss had a machine gun in violation of his criminal conviction restrictions. Officers were able to obtain consent to enter the residence by Carloss. They asked for consent to search the residence, but were denied, and were asked to leave. While in the residence, the offficers saw drug paraphernalia and they got a search warrant. They searched the home and found multiple meth labs and weapons. Carloss was arrested.
Carloss appealed his conviction claiming that the officers discovered the paraphernalia after they violated the Fourth Amendment by disobeyed the "No Trespassing" signs and knocked on the door. The Court held that under the circumstances presented here, those “No Trespassing” signs would not have conveyed to an objective officer that he could not approach the house and knock on the front door seeking to have a consensual conversation with the occupants. Nor did the officers exceed the implied license to knock on the front door by knocking too long. Just the presence of a “No Trespassing” sign is not alone sufficient to convey to an objective officer, or member of the public, that he cannot go to the front door and knock. Such signs, by themselves, do not have the talismanic quality Carloss attributes to them.