Federal grand juries have indicted six current and former San Francisco police officers on various charges, including civil rights conspiracy charges. All of the officers were suspended without pay and had their guns taken away. The Police Chief of the San Francisco Police Department, who has worked in the department since 1981, reported that the incident is "as serious as an issue as I can recall in my time in the department."
The U.S. Supreme Court has just agreed to hear two cases about whether law enforcement should be allowed, without a warrant, to seize and go through the cellphones of anyone they arrest. In one case, the cellphone was an old-fashioned type with minimal functionality beyond talking, texting and taking photos. The other case involved a smartphone -- the kind that's essentially a mini-computer containing virtually every detail of the user's life. Law enforcement was easily able to pull crucial evidence from each type of phone, so should the distinction matter?
In Moore v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2184a (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013), a trial court order was reversed due to the fact that the trial court judge relied on outdated law.
In Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013), the United States Supreme Court held that in DUI investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.
If you've been following the news here in Tampa recently, you've no doubt heard about the shakeup in the Tampa Police Department's DUI unit. After the suspicious DUI arrest of a lawyer involved in the high-profile libel case between shock jocks Todd 'MJ' Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in the midst of trial -- and another apparently targeted at a noted Cuban trade advocate -- the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office launched an investigation.
Back in November, a Florida man became engaged in a "consensual encounter" with a police officer, meaning that both of them entered into a conversation willingly. This encounter led to a search that discovered cocaine and the man ended up serving five years in prison.
The justices of the Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in two Florida cases concerning drug-sniffing dogs. The court's rulings could affect how the use of these dogs affects people's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
In U.S. v. Maynard, 615 F.32d 544 (D.C.Cir. Aug. 6, 2010) (P&J, 08/09/10), the D.C. Circuit considered the joint appeals of Lawrence Maynard and Antoine Jones who were convicted of a conspiracy to possess and distribute substantial amounts of cocaine and cocaine base. Although both defendants raised a number of issues in common, Jones alone argued that his conviction should be overturned because the police violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition of "unreasonable searches" by tracking his movements 24 hours a day for four weeks with a GPS device they had installed on his Jeep without a valid warrant. The police then used the evidence they gathered from that device to convict Jones.