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Tag Archives: search & seizure

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – ‘Open Fields’ — Taking a Bear with Bait (access required)

State v. Ballance The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures does not extend to “open fields,” and the term “open fields” applies to defendant’s 119-acred wooded tract that is used only for hunting and growing trees. We find no error in defendant Tanya Ballance’s conviction of taking a bear with the aid of bait, defendant Frank Ballance’s conviction of aiding and abetting Ms. Ballance in taking a bear with the aid of bait, and defendant Richard Swain’s convictions of taking a bear with the aid of bait and placing processed food as bait in an area designated for bear hunting.

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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.

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Constitutional – Search & Seizure – DWI Stop – Due Process – Motorcycle Seizure (access required)

Northrup v. Albert Where defendant Deputy Goudelock had the impression that plaintiff was speeding, this was sufficient to warrant the deputy’s initial stop of plaintiff. In addition, Deputy Goudelock began to follow plaintiff (and only observed the alleged speeding) following what he believed to be plaintiff leaving the scene of an accident in which plaintiff was involved.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Armed Robbery – DWI (access required)

State v. Brown Where the arresting officer did not have any information regarding in what direction armed robbery suspects fled the scene of the robbery, and where the officer had no description of a getaway vehicle, the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that justified pulling over defendant’s car near the scene of the crime four hours after the robbery.

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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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