SCOTUS Vs a Federal District Court

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by BTPost, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Here are two cases where Freedom & Liberty are in question..... Where do you think the "Line in the Sand" IS:

    Justices object to police bringing drug-sniffing dogs to front porch
    A lawyer defending a Florida police officer told Supreme Court justices that since "trick-or-treaters" can visit a front porch, so can a police officer with his drug-sniffing dog.
    By David G. Savage
    Tribune Washington bureau
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court justices spent part of Halloween debating whether visitors, including police officers with dogs, have a right to stand on the front porch of a house and knock on the door, or whether such unwanted visits may violate the rights of the homeowner.
    The question arose in a case involving whether police may use a dog to sniff for illegal drugs at the front door of a home.
    A lawyer defending a Florida police officer said that since "trick-or-treaters" can visit a front porch, so can a police officer with his trained dog.
    "It's well-established, we think, going back to the common law, that there is an implied consent for people, visitors, salesmen, Girl Scouts, trick-or-treaters, to come to your house and knock on the door," said Washington attorney Gregory Garre.
    Garre ran into opposition from most of the jurists, including Justice Antonin Scalia.
    It is "not implied consent for the policeman to come up with the dog," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    Scalia agreed. "When the officer's going there to conduct a search, it's not permitted," he said.
    Garre was defending a Miami police officer who took his drug dog, Franky, to the front of a house searching for evidence of marijuana. When Franky alerted near the front door, the officer obtained a search warrant and found marijuana growing inside.
    The Supreme Court took up the case to decide whether such an action violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches."
    "In my neighborhood, neighbors can bring their dog up on the leash when they knock on your front door, and I think that's true in most neighborhoods in America," Garre said.
    Justice Stephen Breyer said a homeowner "would resent someone coming up with a large animal sitting on a front step ... and sniffing for five to 15 minutes."
    Ginsburg said that if the court were to approve this law-enforcement tactic, police could "just go down the street, have the dog sniff in front of every door, or go into an apartment building."
    Scalia, one of the court's conservative leaders, has drawn a line against searches that invade private space. In January, he wrote an opinion limiting law enforcement's use of a GPS device for tracking movement of a car. Putting the device on the vehicle was a "physical intrusion" into the owner's private property, he said.
    Scalia and the four liberal justices sounded as though they will limit the police in using dogs around homes or apartments to sniff for illegal drugs.
    But the justices suggested they were not inclined to require more proof that drug-sniffing dogs are usually right when they "alert" and trigger a search of a car or truck. Many police departments use trained dogs to sniff around cars that have been stopped along the road, and an alert from a dog gives an officer probable cause to search inside.

    Court OKs warrantless use of hidden surveillance cameras
    In latest case to test how technological developments alter Americans' privacy, federal court sides with Justice Department on police use of concealed surveillance cameras on private property.
    by Declan McCullagh
    October 30, 2012 10:45 AM PDT

    Police are allowed in some circumstances to install hidden surveillance cameras on private property without obtaining a search warrant, a federal judge said yesterday.
    CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that it was reasonable for Drug Enforcement Administration agents to enter rural property without permission -- and without a warrant -- to install multiple "covert digital surveillance cameras" in hopes of uncovering evidence that 30 to 40 marijuana plants were being grown.
    This is the latest case to highlight how advances in technology are causing the legal system to rethink how Americans' privacy rights are protected by law. In January, the Supreme Court rejected warrantless GPS tracking after previously rejecting warrantless thermal imaging, but it has not yet ruled on warrantless cell phone tracking or warrantless use of surveillance cameras placed on private property without permission.
    Yesterday Griesbach adopted a recommendation by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan dated October 9. That recommendation said that the DEA's warrantless surveillance did not violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and requires that warrants describe the place that's being searched.
    "The Supreme Court has upheld the use of technology as a substitute for ordinary police surveillance," Callahan wrote.
    Two defendants in the case, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana of Green Bay, Wis., have been charged with federal drug crimes after DEA agent Steven Curran claimed to have discovered more than 1,000 marijuana plants grown on the property, and face possible life imprisonment and fines of up to $10 million. Mendoza and Magana asked Callahan to throw out the video evidence on Fourth Amendment grounds, noting that "No Trespassing" signs were posted throughout the heavily wooded, 22-acre property owned by Magana and that it also had a locked gate.

    Callahan based his reasoning on a 1984 Supreme Court case called Oliver v. United States, in which a majority of the justices said that "open fields" could be searched without warrants because they're not covered by the Fourth Amendment. What lawyers call "curtilage," on the other hand, meaning the land immediately surrounding a residence, still has greater privacy protections.
    "Placing a video camera in a location that allows law enforcement to record activities outside of a home and beyond protected curtilage does not violate the Fourth Amendment," Justice Department prosecutors James Santelle and William Lipscomb told Callahan.
    As digital sensors become cheaper and wireless connections become more powerful, the Justice Department's argument would allow police to install cameras on private property without court oversight -- subject only to budgetary limits and political pressure.
    About four days after the DEA's warrantless installation of surveillance cameras, a magistrate judge did subsequently grant a warrant. But attorneys for Mendoza and Magana noticed that the surveillance took place before the warrant was granted.
    "That one's actions could be recorded on their own property, even if the property is not within the curtilage, is contrary to society's concept of privacy," wrote Brett Reetz, Magana's attorney, in a legal filing last month. "The owner and his guest... had reason to believe that their activities on the property were not subject to video surveillance as it would constitute a violation of privacy."
    A jury trial has been scheduled for January 22.

    In my opinion, this district court Judge will be overturned on Appeal.... What do you think?
    tulianr likes this.
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I think that their privacy was violated.

    In this particular case, because the cameras were placed on their marked property, before a warrant, the info may be dropped. Next time - the cameras will just be across the road on someone else's property.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There's no expectation of privacy in open fields, but this seems to be in an area obscured from public view. A violation, IMHO. (Not to mention trespass to set the cameras.)
  4. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Bring the cameras, I'll find them and then sell them on ebay. More $$ for me.
    BTPost and tulianr like this.
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    There are plenty of instructional videos on how to grow pot freely available on Youtube, why don't they just watch those instead of infringing on our civil liberties and spending our tax dollars to make their own?
    Tracy likes this.
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