28
Jul

Disorderly Conduct - Fighting Words

The common-law crime of disturbing the peace (n.k.a. disorderly conduct) used to be broadly defined to include any behavior which disturbed the peacefulness of citizens. States took it upon themselves to codify this rule under disorderly conduct stat…
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20
Mar

Flipping the Bird to Cops - Not a Basis for the Cop to Stop You (Federal Court Decision)

Let’s be honest. How many times have we wanted to flip the bird to a cop after pulling us over for a mundane traffic violation? Countless? Maybe just a couple? Either way, it’s probably crossed our minds when we think the minor infraction…
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28
Jun

SCOTUS Opinion - Warrant Required to Get Cell Phone Tower Records

In a surprising decision in Carpenter v. U.S., the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that law enforcement must have a warrant in order to seek historical cell phone tower records that can accurately identify the location of a person…
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12
Nov

When is a Miranda Warning Required?

The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against themselves in a criminal case. In lay mans terms, the Fifth Amendment is the right against self-incrimination. Per a 1966 United States Supreme Court decision, a M…
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6
Sep

Drug Detection Dog Search in a Secured Apartment Building - Get a Warrant!

This week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued an important decision, pulling back the expanding usage of drug detection dogs for searches of controlled substances. In State v. Edstrom, the Court of Appeals held that law enforcement must get a war…
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16
May

When Can Cops Seize Cell Phones?

Let’s be honest – cell phones have become a necessity to our everyday lives. Many would be lost without a cell phone as it houses almost endless amounts of our personal information, from phone numbers, to thousands of photos/videos, and e…
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18
Apr

Legality of a DWI Stop - More than Curiosity is Required

Often the best defense starts with whether the DWI stop of the vehicle was legal. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that we are free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This demands that the police first have a legal basis to even stop the vehicl…
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7
Mar

Private Security and Fourth Amendment Implications

Many establishments and retail stores hire private security. Often the private security personnel are the ones that witness an alleged crime and call the cops to the scene. Sometimes, the private security will go so far as detaining the person until…
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12
Sep

Search Warrant Requirements

The Fourth Amendment assures us that we have the right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effect from unreasonable searches and seizures.” Except when numerous exclusions may apply, the State must obtain a valid warrant to…
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11
Sep

Cell Phone Evidence - The Basics

With smart phones becoming such a critical part of our lives, cell phone evidence is becoming more common. Crucial evidence to a case is often found within the data of the cell phone. The State can obtain this evidence, but it is not easy and can…
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