Fourth Amendment

United States v. Charles White (8th Cir. June 2019)

In a marijuana farm case, the Court held that law enforcement did not exceed the scope of a permissible knock-and-talk when they returned to the defendant’s house with other narcotics officers after smelling marijuana at the property earlier in the day, as an officer's subjective intent is irrelevant. The Court also affirmed the district court's denial of the defendant's motion to dismiss the marijuana charges based on the Obama-era "Cole memo" directing prosecutors not to prosecute marijuana cases in states where marijuana is legal.

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Mitchell v. Wisconsin (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant's conviction for a DUI after police took his blood while he was passed out, with a plurality of the  Court holding that conducting a blood test on a defendant while he is passed out is permissible under the “exigent circumstance” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

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United States v. Paul Johnson Jr (11th Cir. April 2019), EN BANC

The Court held that a police officer did not exceed the scope of a permissible Terry frisk by reaching into the defendant’s pocket and seizing ammunition and a holster after feeling the bullet during the frisk. Under the totality of circumstances, going into the defendant’s pocket and removing ammunition was reasonably related to the protection of law enforcement.

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United States v. Bechir Delva, Dan Kenny Delva (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendants’ convictions, holding, among other things, that there was probable cause to justify warrantless search of the defendant’s vehicle where officers could tie the vehicle to identity fraud, the defendant’s repeated use of an access device to obtain benefits reflected knowledge that the access device belonged to a real person, the government was allowed to use a detective as an expert witness on common slang terms in identity fraud cases, and the district court properly applied a firearm enhancement.

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United States v. Willie Cooks (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court held that a warrantless search of a boarded-up crawlspace in the defendant’s house was reasonable based on exigent circumstances indicating there may have been hostages in the crawlspace. Officers had just arrested the defendant after a stand-off that included hostages and during which officers heard the defendant using a power drill and were informed that the defendant was hiding something in the crawlspace.

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