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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…

Minnesota appellate courts continue to beat down constitutional rights for drivers in MN DWI blood test cases.[1] This time, the onslaught continued in State v. Wood. While Appellant Wood’s unfortunate result was significantly impacted by unlucky timing, he also was on the receiving end of the appellate bench favoring search warrants over statutes. Importantly, Wood’s…

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…

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…

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…

Rental Cars and the Fourth Amendment: Byrd v. United States Consider this: You are driving down the road in a rental car that your significant other rented but allowed you to drive. You pack your suitcase, place it in the trunk, and head down the road. A short time later, you are pulled over for…

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