Begging to Be Prosecuted

In Episode 21 (“Hands Off the Junk“) of Season 26 of the show COPS, a lady calls the police on her husband and son because she is tired of them fighting with each other. The…


Putative Spouse Doctrine

If a person who in good faith believed she was married to someone who, as it turns out, was actually already married, the blameless victim is a putative spouse. She is entitled to an equitable interest…


Community Caretaking Emergency Doctrine

The Fourth Amendment protects the people from unreasonable searches and seizures. It is presumptively unreasonable for the government to violate a person’s property rights or to intrude on a reasonable expectation of privacy without a…



Seizure in Anticipation of a Warrant

In order to prevent the destruction of evidence, the police are allowed to impose limited restrictions on a person while they are waiting on a warrant to be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate….


Steagald principle

The Steagald principle is that the police cannot use an arrest warrant to search a third person’s home where the police suspect the subject of the arrest warrant might be staying as a guest. [T]he…


Gerstein hearing after a warrantless arrest

To be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, every search and every seizure requires justification and authorization.  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and…


Search Incident to Lawful Arrest

Every search or seizure needs a justification and an authorization. Ordinarily, the justification is probable cause and the authorization is the warrant. However, there are cases where one or the other or both can be…


Requisites of a Valid Warrant

A search or seizure warrant, to comply with the text of the Fourth Amendment, must: be based on probable causebe supported by oath or affirmationparticularly describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things…


Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

What conduct by the police constitutes a search or seizure of a person, house, paper, or effect and, therefore, triggers Fourth Amendment protection. The old analysis was based on trespass principles, such that no 4th amendment violation…