Is the practice of suspending defendants' driver's licenses for nonpayment of criminal justice debt unfair to those who can't afford to pay? Does it actually make it harder for courts to collect that debt?
Search warrants are generally required when police officers search your property -- unless a specific exception applies. In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court carved out a major exception to the search warrant requirement in a case called Carroll v. United States. It created the "automobile exception" or "motor vehicle exception," which essentially allows any motor vehicle to be searched without a warrant as long as the officer has probable cause to believe that evidence or contraband will be found in that vehicle.
Criminal defense attorneys and civil rights activists have raised the alarm at the increasing number of electronic devices being searched at our borders and at international airports. In April, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that it searched 19,000 devices in fiscal year 2016 -- a shocking increase over the 8,500 it searched in 2015. In the first half of 2017 the agency had already searched nearly 15,000.
Apple Face ID is the newest thing; just look directly at your phone and it unlocks and opens so you can use it. As always with new technology, however, there are questions.
Let's say you were driving home after an evening at your favorite restaurant with friends. You immediately notice a glare when red and blue lights begin flashing in your rear view mirror. The pit in your stomach announces your state of nervousness as you realize a police officer is pulling you over. Whether it's your first experience in a traffic stop or you've been through the process before, it's typically a highly stressful situation for any motorist.
An influential federal appeals court has ruled that a judge erred when granting a search warrant for a cellphone. That search warrant granted police the authority to search a man's residence for any cellphones or electronic devices he might own, and the court said the warrant was unconstitutionally vague.
When are police officers allowed to search your glove box after a traffic stop or an accident? At its base, it's a civil rights issue. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures" by government agents such as police.
Should law enforcement pursue the War on Drugs by searching everyone they encounter until every hidden cache of drugs is found? Most people would say no; even more if it meant an intimate, under-clothes search of each of our kids. Searching every student because a small minority is involved in drug activity seems absurd.
In 2011, an Arizona state prison inmate was infuriated when corrections officers read his confidential correspondence with his attorney, even though it was marked "legal mail." He sued the Department of Corrections for violating his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, among others.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant's right to "be confronted with the witnesses against him" in all prosecutions. That's one reason why the state can't bring hearsay evidence against you in a criminal case, for example. You have the right to see, hear and confront any witness (or even a document) accusing you of any crime. It's an essential part of due process of law.