Legal Update Archive2018-08-06T22:11:41-04:00

OFFICERS DETAIN GROUP OF MEN BASED ON ODOR OF MARIJUANA

On March 17, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided the United States v. Roberts[i], in which the court examined whether the odor of marijuana can provide police with reasonable suspicion to detain a group of five men when the officers could not tell from which person the odor was emanating.   The facts of Roberts, taken directly from the case, are as follows: On July 11, 2018, at approximately 7:00 p.m., four detectives in the Fort Pierce Police Department assigned to the Crime Suppression Unit—Cunzo, Incorvaia, Cena, and Davis—arrived at Parkland Court, a public housing complex, for what they [...]

By |April 4th, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|

OFFICERS SUED FOR FALSE ARREST, EXCESSIVE FORCE FOR CONDUCTING A FELONY STOP

On March 18, 2021, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Ellsworth v. City of Broken Arrow[i], in which the court examined whether officers violated the plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth Amendment when, believing the plaintiffs to be armed robbery suspects, they conducted a felony stop.   The facts of Ellsworth, taken directly from the case, are as follows: Plaintiffs' action arose from a traffic stop of a car driven by Ms. Ellsworth. On August 1, 2018, the BAPD dispatch reported that the Tulsa Police Department ("TPD") was following a black Ford Mustang involved in an armed robbery, that the robbery [...]

By |March 28th, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|

WOMAN ARMED WITH AIR-RIFLE SHOT BY POLICE, FAMILY FILES SUIT

On March 23, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided Thorkelson v. Marceno[i], which involved a woman, in an emotional crisis, that was shot and killed by police when she pointed, what they later learned was a BB gun, at an officer.   The facts of Thorkelson, taken directly from the case, are as follows: Late one afternoon, Thorkelson called 911 from her apartment in Fort Myers Beach, but immediately ended the call. Deputy Matthew Woodby drove to Thorkelson's two-story apartment building and knocked on the front door of each unit without receiving any response. Thorkelson called 911 a second [...]

By |March 23rd, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|

CAN AN OFFICER ENTER THE CURTILAGE OF A RESIDENCE AND SEIZE EVIDENCE IN PLAIN VIEW WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANT?

On February 22, 2021, the Court of Appeals of Georgia decided the Lewis v. State[i], which examines whether an officer can enter the curtilage of a residence and seize evidence that is in plain view without a search warrant.  The facts of Lewis are as follows: [T]he record shows that on the evening of March 23, 2016, David Gratton—an officer with the Savannah Police Department—was responding to a non-emergency call when he passed through his assigned precinct. While doing so, he observed Lewis (with whom he was familiar) sitting on the side porch of his home with money in hand [...]

By |March 15th, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|

COURT OF APPEALS OF UTAH HOLDS COMPELLED DISCLOSURE OF CELLPHONE PASSWORD IS PROTECTED BY THE FIFTH AMENDMENT

On February 11, 2021, the Court of Appeals of Utah decided State v. Valdez[i], in which the court had to determine whether asking a suspect to provide his password to his cellphone was considered “testimonial” within the meaning of Fifth Amendment. In Valdez, the defendant, Alfonso Margo Valdez, was convicted of kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault, after his ex-girlfriend testified that he forced her into his car with a gun, threatened her, hit her with the gun, cut her face with a knife, and stole her purse and phone.  The police, when they arrested Valdez, seized his cellphone.  They obtained [...]

By |March 8th, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|

FRISKS AND THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

On February 18, 2021, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided the United States v. Moreno[i], which serves as an excellent review regarding the law related to frisks.  The facts of Moreno are as follows: On September 13, 2018, several plain-clothes officers with Nebraska State Patrol were conducting drug surveillance at the Trailways bus station in Omaha. Trooper Brandon Wilkie was working alongside Sergeant Thomas Meola, a supervisor with the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force in Omaha who has received counter-terrorism training. At approximately 6:00 a.m., the officers noticed a new, black hard-side suitcase on the curb, along with other pieces [...]

By |March 1st, 2022|Categories: Legal updates|
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