The Fourth Amendment And Your DNA – Any Limits? – Part II

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law on Friday, June 7, 2013

In Part I of our discussion of Maryland v. King, we summarized the holding, its questionable reasoning and the good points of the dissent. In this post, we want to explore issues left unexplored by the majority and even the dissent, and what should be done to fix some very bad law.

The scope of the search may seem limited by reading the majority opinion, which tries to qualify its holding as only for arrests for “serious offenses.” But, as Justice Scalia notes, the Court never defines a “serious offense,” and the logic (twisted as it is) that supports collecting identification information would …

The Fourth Amendment And Your DNA – Any Limits?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law on Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Supreme Court decided one of the most important and far-reaching Fourth Amendment cases in quite some time on Monday, holding by a 5-4 majority in Maryland v. King that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit a state from taking a DNA swab of every person arrested for a “serious offense” for the purpose of confirming the identity of the arrestee. The majority held: “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, …

Limits On Drug-Sniff Dog Searches

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law on Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Florida v. Jardines, an important case on the limits of the use of trained dogs to detect the presence of narcotics in a person’s home.

Based on an unverified tip, police began watching the defendant’s house, where they believed defendant had been growing marijuana plants. Observing absolutely nothing suspicious, the police nevertheless called for a drug-sniffing dog trained to detect the odor of different narcotics, including marijuana. The police walked the dog onto the porch of the defendant’s house, and the dog gave the signal he smelled narcotics. Based on the “heads up” from the dog, …

Supreme Court Limits Certain Types of Seizures

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Bailey v. United States, setting forth limits to one particular type of seizure – the detention of an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant.

Over thirty years ago, in Michigan v. Summers, the Court decided that when the police go to a home to execute a search warrant, the police can detain the individuals in the home (regardless of whether any occupant is suspected of any criminal activity) so that the officers executing the search may do so without fear of interference or threat to their safety or …