Searches allow police officers to find evidence or possibly take a suspect into custody. Seizures are when police lawfully take property either as evidence or because that property will soon be forfeited due to its involvement in or relationship to criminal activity. Unfortunately, sometimes, police officers violate people’s rights when they conduct searches or take
Whether it is the first time or not, being signaled to pull over by authorities can be a very nerve wrecking driving experience. In your head, you will either get a warning or a traffic ticket and will be sent on your way. But this traffic stop is different. You were asked several questions, one
Most appeals of search and seizure evidentiary rulings in criminal cases are appeals by a Defendant after a conviction. However, as these are legal rulings by a trial court, the State has the option of appealing a ruling excluding evidence. In the recent case of State v. Clark, E2009-01795-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 10-24-2011), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed
In the recent search and seizure case of State v. Donaldson, M2010-0069-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-15-2011), the State of Tennessee, appealing a trial court ruling excluding evidence, asserted that a police officer has unrestricted authority to order a motorist to exit a vehicle at any point during a valid traffic stop. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals disagrees.
Appellate challenges to trial court rulings on admissibility of evidence in criminal cases, including questions of whether a particular search and seizure was reasonable, do not often result in reversals. Appellate courts must rely on a trial court’s findings of fact and determine whether the trial court’s application of law to those facts was reversible error.
The recent Sixth Circuit case of U.S. v. Godfrey, 10-4240 (6th Cir. 6-28-2011) is an interesting example of the “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule. Generally, evidence obtained from a warrantless search and seizure, not covered by a recognized exception to the warrant requirement, is inadmissible against an accused in a criminal case. The exclusionary rule exists
In a recent search and seizure case from the Sixth Circuit, a divided panel concluded that an investigatory stop of a vehicle in a “high crime area” was permissible where the vehicle color did not match the color listed on the registration. In the case of U.S. V. Cooper, 09-4302 (6th Cir. 6-22-2011), a Defendant in a federal
Having a visible sawed-off shotgun in your vehicle is enough to trigger a warrantless search and seizure. In the recent 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case of U.S. v. Carmack, 09-5819 (6th Cir. 6-7-2011), the Defendant triggered a federal investigation after he sent a counterfeit postal money order to a company that sells law enforcement items. Federal investigators