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Police Officers and Tattoos

Can a Passenger Be Detained on a Traffic Stop?

Search Warrant Exceptions

Use of force: Defining 'objectively-reasonable' force

Police Use of Force


Why Legalizing Drugs is a Bad Idea

Good Cops Are Forged in the Fire of Good Defense Attorneys

Hey Officer! Do you hear me?

Traffic Cameras Come To Oklahoma

Law Enforcement and Drivers from Foreign Countries

Excited Delirium & Sudden Death

When do you Mirandize?

Online Sexual Predator Stings

Police Who Overreact

Duty to Take Risks, Not Abuse

Can Sexual Harassment Affect an Officer's Safety?


Follow the links above to read about the many cases listed under each catagory. The site contains information on hundreds of cases.
It is important to understand Court Jurisdiction before applying any case law. The case law established by a court's decisions only applies to the citizens under its jurisdiction. To narrow down the focus of the case law listed on this site, I limited the case law for the most part to federal circuit courts and the United States Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court decisions apply to all citizens of the United States and its territories. The Federal Circuit Courts' decisions apply only to the states and territories in their circuits. If you are not sure which Federal Court circuit you are in go to United States Courts.
If you have any cases that you would like to see added to this site, find any errors, or just want to contact me please e-mail me at info@caselaw4cops.net.
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Recently Added Cases

Vehicle Passenger-

Stufflebeam v. Harris, 06-4046 (8th Cir. 2008)-The Court held: Police could not arrest a passenger in a vehicle simply because he did not comply with the officer and show identification. The officer needs reasonable suspicion that the passenger is engaged in criminal conduct before compelling him to show identification. The Court stated, "...arresting Stufflebeam, a passenger not suspected of criminal activity, because he adamantly refused to comply with an unlawful demand that he identify himself. No reasonable police officer could believe he had probable cause to arrest this stubborn and irritating, but law abiding citizen.

Body Search-

US v. Reid, 929 F.2d 990 (4th Cir. 1991)-Reid was arrested for driving while intoxicated. The officer requested she take a breathalyzer test. She could refuse, but she would be charged with refusal. Reid appealed the breath test as an unlawful warrantless search. The Court held: “The crime of DWI presents a unique situation in that the most reliable evidence of whether a person is driving while "legally drunk" is contained in that person's body. 36 C.F.R. Sec. 4.23 provides that a person commits a crime if she drives while she has a breath alcohol content of .10 or more. The best means of obtaining evidence of the breath alcohol content, and the least intrusive way of testing, is the breathalyzer test. Given that the defendants were legally arrested at the time of the search, these limited intrusions to prevent the destruction of evidence were not unreasonable, as they were searches incident to lawful arrests.”

US v. Bridges, 499 F.2d 179 (7th Cir. 1974)-The warrantless swabbing of the hands of a suspect in a bombing did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Breithaupt v. Abram, 352 U.S. 432 (1957)-A police officer had a physician at a hospital draw blood from the unconscious driver of a vehicle that caused a fatality accident. The Court held that the drawing of blood did not “shock the conscience” nor did the method offend a “sense of justice.” The warrantless drawing of blood did not violate the defendant’s due process.

Pace v. City of Des Moines, 201 F.3d 1050 (8th Cir. 2000)-The police officer had reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in a knife attack on a woman. The officer went to the defendant’s home/business and entered the business entrance. He ordered the defendant to remove his shirt so the officer can photograph the defendant’s tattoo.

The Court held:

There is a legally relevant distinction between the daily revelations of one's voice, face, and fingerprints that are an inevitable part of living in an interactive world, on the one hand, and the occasional use of a tank top on the other. Although it is perhaps possible to imagine a person who so consistently bares himself or herself from the waist up that all reasonable expectations of privacy for that area are lost, wearing a tank top "two or three" times (or even "numerous" times) is surely not enough to produce so drastic a result. Were we to find otherwise, regular visitors to public beaches and swimming pools would be surprised to discover that their visits have cost them the lasting loss of a reasonable expectation of privacy over very substantial portions of their bodies. We do not believe that any reasonable interpretation of Dionisio and its progeny could lead to such a conclusion.

Expectation of Privacy-

US v. Wells, 11-5162 (10th Cir. 2011)-Tulsa police officers were suspected of stealing from drug dealers. A sting operation was set up where the officers were told of a drug dealer with a lot of cash take was staying in a motel. An undercover officer posing as the dealer rented the room and intalled surveillance equipment. The officers contacted the dealer and obtained consent to search. The officers entered the room without the dealer and stole several thousand dollars. The officers were arrested. They fought to suppress the recordings claiming that they had an expectation of privacy. The Court held that the officers were not invited guests, but merely legally in the room. They had no expectation of privacy. The recordings were admissible.