For anyone who has dogs, or is familiar with the characteristics of them, you know that the sense of smell is impeccable. The canine sense of smell is so good, that police and other law enforcement agents have even used them in detecting criminal activity. More particularly, the presence of narcotics. The question then becomes…

Do you live in a house or an apartment? Or, some other abode? Why do we care? Depending on whether you occupy space on Boardwalk or Baltic Avenue, it will determine how much protection you have under the Fourth Amendment, at least according to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Recently, the court decided State v. Edstrom….

Ever walk in downtown Saint Paul or Minneapolis and an electric scooter whips by your ear? Yeah, me neither. These fun new methods of transportation are emerging in the twin cities as quickly as flies at a BBQ. Companies are dropping off these devices across the nation like fliers from a blimp. All you need…

Track the phone, track the person. As cell phones have become a vital organ to many, the ability to locate a phone allows law enforcement to place a person in a specific area. It is impossible for the Fourth Amendment to keep up with the technology explosion in real time. But eventually, case by case,…

When someone is wrongfully convicted, the judicial system failed. The shockwave from a botched case is endless. The impact reaches everyone involved: prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge, corrections officials, victim, family and friends of the accused, friends and family of the victim, and the public at large. But, most importantly, those erroneously convicted are hit the…

“[W}hen it comes to the Fourth Amendment, the home is first among equals.”[1] Justice Sotomayor authored an important opinion in the bout between the Automobile Exception and the Curtilage Doctrine in Collins v. Virginia.[2] The Court held the automobile exception did not permit an officer to enter the curtilage of a home without a warrant…

“Ignorantia juris non excusat” means ignorance of the law is no excuse to escape liability. John or Jane Doe may not use this excuse to get out of a crime, but police officers can get away with it certain situations. Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals filed a decision inclined towards this theory in McGuire…

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States extended privacy protections against unlawful searches in rental cars. Justice Kennedy authored the unanimous opinion in Byrd v. United States and held that a driver of a rental car – who has the renter’s permission to drive – has a reasonable expectation of privacy against government searches of…

How can the police cite you for something that you had no appearance of doing? The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) continues to evaluate the basis for questioning and arrests by police officers. One thing we know for certain, is that probable cause must be present to make an arrest. SCOTUS states that…

Do some areas outside your home receive as much protection as your home under the Fourth Amendment? Recently, the Minnesota Supreme Court addressed that question in State v. Chute. The court analyzed whether an officer’s examination of a camper-tent outside someone’s home was a Fourth Amendment violation. This case highlights expanding the privacy of a…

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