Archive | Fourth Amendment

Friday, May 27th, 2016

More Thoughts on Ganias

Today there was a big decision (both metaphorically and literally – the decision runs 104-pages) from the Second Circuit in United States v. Ganias about search warrants in an age of digital data. In Ganias, the government seized and made identical copies of three hard drives that belonged to an accountant, Stavros Ganias, pursuant to a warrant (the “2003 warrant”) in a fraud investigation. The government continued to hold the files, even after reviewing them for all relevant information contained in the 2003 warrant. In 2006, the government obtained a second warrant (the “2006 warrant”) as part of an IRS tax evasion investigation and they searched the files anew pursuant to that second warrant.

There were two questions presented:

  1. Whether the fourth amendment was violated when, pursuant to a warrant, the government seized and cloned three computer hard drives containing both responsive and non-responsive files, retained the cloned hard

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Categories: Fourth Amendment, good faith, search warrant

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Woe Betide Those Who Park on the Wrong Side of the Street (and those who produce child pornography)

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No relevant opinions today; two summary orders.

In United States v. Grady, Syracuse police noticed that Grady’s car was parked in violation of the city’s odd/even street parking rules.  They approached the car, shone their flashlights inside and saw, in plain view, a bag of crack cocaine on Grady’s lap.  A loaded gun was also found in the car.

Assuming the officers’ approach of the car constituted a stop, the Court (Jacobs, Hall, Lynch, CJJ) held there was reasonable suspicion given the car’s being parked on the wrong side of the street.  Though a car isn’t “parked” if it’s stopped only to load or unload goods or passengers, the officers observed no such activity and the Court held they watched the car for long enough — 10 seconds — before deciding to approach.  “The officers were not required to conduct surveillance long enough to ‘rule out the possibility of …


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Categories: car stop, child pornography, expert witnesses, Fourth Amendment, reasonable suspicion, substantive reasonableness

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Friday, March 11th, 2016

Two Summary Orders on Search and Seizure

No published opinions today; only two summary orders (from the same panel of Katzmann, Sack, and Lohier) rejecting Fourth and Fifth Amendment challenges by the defendant.

In United States v. Mohammed Aleem, No. 15-186, the Court rejected appellant’s argument that evidence obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and later used in his prosecution, should have been suppressed because RCMP officers were acting as agents of the U.S. Border Patrol (and because their actions otherwise violated the Fourth Amendment). Relying on United States v. Getto, 729 F.3d 221, 227 (2d Cir. 2013), the Court ruled that “to render foreign law enforcement officials virtual agents of the United States, American officials must play some role in controlling or directing the conduct of the foreign parallel investigation”; “it is not enough that the foreign government undertook its investigation pursuant to an American . . . request.” Order at 3.…


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Categories: Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment

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Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Parole Evidence

United States v. Barner, No. 10-3700-cr (2d Cir. (Sack, Raggi, CJJ, Eaton, JCIT)

This decision, a government appeal, reverses a district court order suppressing evidence obtained during a parole search.

Barner was released to New York State parole in 2007, and signed a Certificate of Release that included his consent to having his parole officer visit him at home and search and inspect his person, residence and property. Barner was also forbidden from possessing any sort of firearm, ammunition or body armor, and was subject to a curfew.

In early 2008, someone called Barner’s parole officer and told her that Barner had fired a gun at him. She and other officers tried to reach Barner at home that night – during his curfew period – but Barner was not there. This prompted Barner to obtain a parole violation arrest warrant. Two days later, Barner reported for his weekly appointment with …


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Categories: Fourth Amendment, parole search, special needs, Uncategorized

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Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Summers-Time Blues

United States v. Bailey, No. 07-3819-cr (2d Cir. July 6, 2011) (Cabranes, Pooler, Raggi, CJJ)

In Michigan v Summers, 452 U.S. 602 (1981), the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment permitted police officers to detain the occupant of a premises during the execution of a search warrant, without need for individualized suspicion of the person detained. Here, the circuit, joining an issue in which the courts are divided, held that Summers also permits detaining the occupants after they have left the premises.

Background

In July of 2005, Suffolk County detectives obtained a search warrant for a basement apartment in Wyandanch, based on an informant’s tip that there was a gun there. When they arrived at the location to execute the warrant, they saw Bailey and an associate exiting the apartment. They drove off and the officers followed; about a mile from the apartment, the officers stopped Bailey’s car.

The …


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Categories: detention, Fourth Amendment, search warrant, Uncategorized

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Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

PATRIOT Games

United States v. Abu-Jihaad, No. 09-1375-cr (2d Cir. December 20, 2010) (Raggi, Hall, Chin, CJJ)

Defendant Hassan Abu-Jihaad, whose birth name was Paul R. Hall, was convicted of communicating national defense information about the movement of a Navy battlegroup to unauthorized persons. On appeal, his primary challenge was to the use of evidence that the government obtained pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). The circuit affirmed.

Background

Despite changing his last name from “Hall” to “Abu-Jihaad,” which, according to the court, means “Father of Jihad,” the defendant enlisted in the Navy in January of 1998 without any trouble. For the next four years he was cleared to receive classified national defense information. But a chain of circumstantial evidence revealed that, in 2001, he passed classified information about the movement of Navy ships headed for the Persian Gulf to other jihad supporters.

The investigation of Abu-Jihaad began after the …


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Categories: FISA, Fourth Amendment, Uncategorized

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Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Julius’ Seizure

United States v. Julius, No. 08-4267-cr (2d Cir. June 11, 2010) (Pooler, Hall, CJJ, Sweet, DJ)

Here, the district court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress a gun seized during Julius’ arrest on a parole violation. on the government’s appeal, the circuit remanded for reconsideration in light of Herring v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 695 (2009).

In 2007, Julius violated the conditions of a term of special parole imposed after a state court conviction in Connecticut. He had failed to attend court-mandated counseling sessions and had changed his residence but refused to disclose his new address to his parole officer.

The officer finally found Julius at his girlfriend’s house, where the officer, accompanied by another parole officer and a deputy marshal found him lying on a bed in a back bedroom. They arrested him without incident. As an officer removed him from the room, in handcuffs, the marshal searched the …


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Categories: Exclusionary Rule, Fourth Amendment, Uncategorized

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Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Trailer Trashed

United States v. Navas, No. 09-1144-cr (2d Cir. March 8, 2010) (Leval, Wesley, CJJ, Gleeson, DJ)

In connection with a narcotics investigation, DEA agents watched the defendants unload a tractor-trailer at the Hunts Point Market. The defendants then drove it to a private warehouse, where they parked it, unhitched the cab, and lowered the legs in front of the trailer to stabilize it.

After further surveillance, the agents arrested the defendants, one of whom admitted that drugs were hidden in a rooftop compartment of the trailer. After receiving verbal consent to search the warehouse and its contents, but with no search warrant, the agents ripped open the roof of the trailer and discovered 230 kilograms of cocaine.

The district court suppressed the cocaine. It rejected the argument that the verbal consent to a general search of the warehouse extended to a physically invasive search of the trailer. The court also …


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Categories: automobile exception, Fourth Amendment, Uncategorized

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

If You Love Her, Let Her Go

United States v. McGee, No. 07-4509-cr (2d Cir. April 24, 2009)(Leval, Katzmann, Livingston, CJJ)

A Rochester police officer responded to 911 call at defendant McGee’s home. When the officer arrived, he saw McGee running away through the backyard. McGee’s girlfriend was outside the house. She told the officer that she lived there with McGee, but was trying to move out. She had packed her bags and put them on the front porch, but McGee, to prevent her from leaving, had grabbed her bags, put them back inside, locked the door and taken away her keys. She asked the officer to break down the door so she could retrieve her belongings. He refused, but once she proved she really lived there, he let her break in herself.

The officer then accompanied her while she collected belongings. When she observed that McGee stored guns in the front closet, the officer asked for …


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Categories: consent, Fourth Amendment, Uncategorized

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Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Dogged Determination

United States v. Hayes, No. 07-0063-cr (2d Cir. December 24, 2008) (Miner, McLaughlin, Pooler, CJJ)

On the morning of September 3, 2002, Derrick Hayes overdosed on cocaine. After he was put in an ambulance, his girlfriend gave local police officers permission to search the house. They found evidence suggesting that Hayes was a large-scale drug trafficker, so they suspended the search and made arrangements to obtain a search warrant. One of the officers, while waiting for the warrant, released a drug-sniffing dog, “Kilo,” from the car, where it had been confined for several hours. During a Frisbee came with the officer in Hayes’ front yard, the dog alerted. The officer encouraged the dog to continue investigating, and it ran around Hayes’ house, toward the back of a detached garage. From an area of thick brush, about sixty-five feet from the house, and near the border with a neighbor’s property, the …


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Categories: curtilage, Fourth Amendment, Uncategorized

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Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Embassy Suite

In re Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa, No. 01-1535-cr (2d Cir. November 24, 2008) (Feinberg, Newman, Cabranes, CJJ)

This trio of long opinions, captioned In re Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa, resolves the appeals of the defendants convicted of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. One opinion deals with trial and sentencing issues, the second deals specifically with Fifth Amendment claims, and the third deals specifically with Fourth Amendment claims. The convictions of all defendants were affirmed, although one defendant asked for, and received, a Fagans remand.

The Trial Opinion

This opinion covers a host of issues, some of which are surprisingly mundane and are treated rather cursorily by the court. A few, however, are more interesting and are discussed here.

1. The Capital Indictment

Defendant Al-‘Owalhi was charged with capital offenses. Although not sentenced to death, he challenged the sufficiency …


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Categories: Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, terrorism, Uncategorized

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