Fourth Amendment

The Federal Docket

United States v. Cristofer Jose Gallegos-Espinal (5th Cir. August 2020)

The Fifth Circuit reversed the grant of a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence under a broad, written consent to search a cell phone and seize property prior to issuance of a search warrant. Applying the objective standard, the Court held that a reasonable person would understand consent to examine a phone includes its contents and that permission to seize materials includes permission to seize and review phone contents later.

United States v. Anthony Knights (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a defendant’s conviction and held there was no investigatory stop where officers did not make a show of authority and other people left the scene as the officers approached.

United States v. Erickson Campbell (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit reconsidered its prior panel decision and upheld a district court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence found during a traffic stop because the officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop and, although he improperly prolonged the stop, the exclusionary rule did not apply.

NSA’s Mass Surveillance Program Under FISA Ruled Unlawful

On September 2, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that, while affirming the convictions of the defendants raising the appeals, held that the mass surveillance program operated by the National Security Agency (NSA) violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and was potentially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. In 2013, Edward …

NSA’s Mass Surveillance Program Under FISA Ruled Unlawful Read More »

United States v. Kevin Kizart (7th Cir. July 2020)

The Seventh Circuit upheld a defendant’s drug convictions and denial of suppression because the officer had probable cause to search the trunk of the defendant’s car due to the smell of burnt marijuana and the defendant’s observable reaction when asked about the trunk.

United States v. Joseph Ward III (6th Cir. July 2020)

The Sixth Circuit upheld a search warrant under the good faith exception in Leon where there was no probable cause and the affidavit only relied on undated text messages between the defendant and a drug purchaser, loose marijuana and untested substances found in the defendant’s trash, and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

United States v. Billy Curry Jr. (4th Cir. July 2020), EN BANC

Sitting en banc, the Fourth Circuit held that the exigent circumstances and emergency aid exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement did not justify the officers’ suspicion-less stop and frisk of the defendant who was an area where officers had heard gun shots being fired less than a minute before. There were other individuals and there was no particularized evidence that the defendant had been involved in the shooting or posed a danger to others.

United States v. Mark Ringland (8th Cir. July 2020)

The Eighth Circuit upheld a conviction for receipt of child pornography because Google was not acting as a government agent when it uncovered files of child pornography in the defendant’s email accounts.

United States v. Jaquan Walker (2nd Cir. July 2020)

The Second Circuit held that a defendant’s stop was unconstitutional where it was based on the officer receiving an email with a photograph of a suspect who only shared general characteristics with the defendant and the photo did not involve any criminal activity. The Court also held that the attenuation doctrine did not apply because the officers’ misconduct was purposeful or flagrant due to the extreme lack of reasonable suspicion.

United States v. Anthony Yarbrough (11th Cir. June 2020)

The Court reversed the district court’s grant of suppression based on an unlawful protective sweep. The Court held the sweep was justified where, even though officers had acted on an anonymous tip and had already arrested the visible suspects and found no contraband, the existence of multiple vehicles and people at the scene, the observation of a suspect attempting to flee, and the immediacy and brevity of the sweep to the defendant’s arrest supported the sweep.

Scroll to Top