Ion Swabs and Ion Scanners[1] are mainstream forensic science equipment used by law enforcement. You see them firsthand every day at airports when someone gets a random hand or luggage swab. Ion Scanners are cheap compared to other alternatives, can be handheld, and very little training is needed to use them. These are some of…

Parking enforcement is now a little trickier in some jurisdictions. In some places, parking enforcement officers place chalk on a car’s tires. The officer then comes back later to see if the chalk is still there. If it is, they believe there is evidence the car never moved and if it the vehicle has been…

Widely believed as the most reliable chemical testing method for DWI cases, blood tests are splattering the headlines recently. In Minnesota, the company that provides blood test sample kits issued a recall notice for many kits distributed after November 1, 2018. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court narrowly decided drivers do not have a right…

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides protection against the government’s unreasonable searches and seizures for anyone on American soil. Even with this great constitutional protection, law enforcement can circumvent it to obtain information. One of these ways includes the third-party doctrine. This doctrine provides, in part, that outside entities who willingly turn…

Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dabbled with Pine Martens and Goshawks. While doing so, it reviewed the validity of a search warrant in State v. Bishop.  In Bishop, officers investigated a burglary of taxidermic mounts in a farm home. As law enforcement responded to the home, an officer knocked on the front door, a…

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….

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,…

“[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…

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