Author Topic: New Search and Seizure Ruling  (Read 855 times)

Offline Battle

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New Search and Seizure Ruling
« on: June 23, 2018, 03:05:48 am »
May 29th 2018

Supreme Court sets new limits on police searches

by Lydia Wheeler


The Supreme Court on Tuesday limited the scope of police searches, ruling that officers must have a warrant to go through a vehicle parked at a home or on its surrounding property.

In an 8-1 ruling, the court reversed a Virginia Supreme Court decision that found the Fourth Amendment’s automobile exception allows for warrantless searches of vehicles anytime, anywhere, including at a home or on its surrounding property, which is known as curtilage.

Citing court precedent in her majority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment has occurred when a law enforcement officer physically intrudes on the curtilage to gather evidence.

“Such conduct as this is presumptively unreasonable absent a warrant,” she said.

She said the lower court ruling would grant constitutional rights to people with the financial means to afford residences with garages in which to store their vehicles, but deprive people without such resources any individualized consideration as to whether the areas in which they store their vehicles qualify as curtilage.





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http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/389697-supreme-court-sets-new-limits-on-police-searches

Offline Battle

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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 09:59:07 am »
Thursday, 11th October 2018

Inslee statement regarding Supreme Court decision invalidating Washington's death penalty
by Tara Lee

"Today’s decision by the state Supreme Court thankfully ends the death penalty in Washington. The court makes it perfectly clear that capital punishment in our state has been imposed in an ‘arbitrary and racially biased manner,’ is ‘unequally applied’ and serves no criminal justice goal. This is a hugely important moment in our pursuit for equal and fair application of justice.”

In 2014, Inslee declared a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington state saying at the time it was clear to him that use of capital punishment is inconsistent and unequal.







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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 02:18:21 pm »
Tuesday, 15th January 2019

Supreme Court says minimal force can raise minimum sentence for 'violent' criminals
by Richard Wolf

(WASHINGTON) – The Supreme Court issued its first closely divided ruling of the 2018-19 term Tuesday, but not along strict ideological lines.

Clarence Thomas wrote the 5-4 decision, in which the court upheld a heavy criminal sentence for a defendant whose robbery conviction included the potential of force. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer joined four conservatives in the majority.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent, which Chief Justice John Roberts joined. She belittled the majority's definition of force with a reference to her own recent shoulder replacement surgery.

"As any first-year torts student (or person with a shoulder injury) quickly learns, even a tap on the shoulder is 'capable of causing physical pain or injury' in certain cases," she said.

The case – the first one heard by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the majority opinion – focused on the much-maligned Armed Career Criminal Act, a 1984 law that sets a 15-year minimum sentence for gun crimes if the defendant has three or more serious or violent felony convictions.

An armed Denard Stokeling was arrested in Florida for burglary in 2015. He had three 1997 felonies on his record, including one for unarmed robbery. In Florida, robbery does not need to include violent force.

During oral argument, various justices wondered how much force should be necessary to qualify under the ACCA. Some noted that the higher threshold Stokeling sought would exempt crimes that actually hurt people in a majority of states.

At one point, Sotomayor pinched Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to suggest that a pinch might be sufficiently painful.

Other justices worried that the lower standard backed by the federal government would subject purse-snatchers, shoplifters and pickpockets to 15-year prison sentences if they committed a single crime with a gun.

In his majority opinion, Thomas said a robbery qualifies as sufficiently violent if it "requires the criminal to overcome the victim's resistance."

"Robbery that must overpower a victim’s will – even a feeble or weak-willed victim – necessarily involves a physical confrontation and struggle. The altercation need not cause pain or injury or even be prolonged," Thomas said.

In her dissent, Sotomayor argued that Thomas's standard "can mean essentially no force at all .... For example, the force element of Florida robbery is satisfied by a pickpocket who attempts to pull free after the victim catches his arm."

"A robbery statute that sweeps as broadly as Florida’s does not qualify as an ACCA predicate," Sotomayor said.




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Offline Battle

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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2019, 12:35:41 am »
Saturday, 16th February 2019

Maryland judge overturns $37 million awarded to family of woman killed in police standoff
by Amir Vera and Elizabeth Joseph


A judge has overturned a more than $37 million verdict awarded to the family of a woman killed in an armed standoff with Baltimore County police.

Korryn Gaines, 23, was shot and killed in August 2016 after an hours-long standoff with police in Baltimore County.

She was trying to livestream the encounter with police, authorities said at the time.
 
Her son, Kodi, then 5, also was shot twice, said Kenneth Ravenell, an attorney for the child and his father, Corey Cunningham.

In an opinion obtained by CNN affiliate WBAL-TV, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman said Cpl. Royce Ruby, who court documents say shot Gaines twice, was "entitled to qualified immunity."

This means that because Ruby was acting in his capacity as a police officer, he is "shielded from liability for civil damages" as long as his conduct didn't violate a person's constitutional rights.

"The evidence is clear," Norman's opinion read.

"This Court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."






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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2019, 01:06:42 pm »
Wednesday, 20th February 2019
Supreme Court, in unanimous ruling, moves to limit state and local governments’ power to impose fines and seize property

Washington Post Staff


The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Constitution’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, limiting their abilities to impose fines and seize property.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on just her second day back on the bench after undergoing cancer surgery in December, announced the decision for the court, saying that the 8th Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause protects against government retribution.

“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote.
 
“Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”

The court ruled in favor of Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $42,000 Land Rover seized after he was arrested for selling a couple hundred dollars’ worth of heroin.

He drew wide support from civil liberties organizations who want to limit civil forfeitures, which they say empower localities and law enforcement to seize property of someone suspected of a crime as a revenue stream.

Some justices, too, had become worried about the state and local efforts.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a recent opinion that civil forfeitures have “become widespread and highly profitable.”

“This system — where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use — has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses,” Thomas wrote, referring to reporting by The Washington Post and the New Yorker.

At oral argument, Timbs’s lawyer said the case was a simple matter of “constitutional housekeeping.”

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights protects against actions of the federal government.

But the Supreme Court over time has applied it to state and local governments under the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment.

In 2010, for instance, the court held that the Second Amendment applied to state and local government laws on gun control.

The Eighth Amendment states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Two of those commands — regarding bail and cruel and unusual punishments — have been deemed to apply to state and local governments.

But until now, the ban on excessive fines had not been.

And the Indiana Supreme Court noted that when overturning a lower court’s ruling that the actions taken against Timbs were excessive.

Ginsburg’s opinion makes clear that the clause applies, and that it is “incorporated” under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
 
Justices Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch agreed with the outcome, but said they would have relied on a different part of the 14th Amendment.

The case is Timbs v. Indiana.




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https://www.supremecourt.gov/
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 01:32:43 pm by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2019, 01:35:44 pm »
Wednesday, 20th March 2019
Thomas speaks as U.S. Supreme Court confronts racial bias in jury selection
by Lawrence Hurley


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared poised to side with a black Mississippi death row inmate put on trial six times for a 1996 quadruple murder who accused a prosecutor of repeatedly blocking black potential jurors, though the court’s only black member sounded skeptical.

Clarence Thomas, who had not posed a question during an oral argument in three years, asked several in the case involving Curtis Flowers, 48, who has argued that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated.
 
Thomas, only the most embarrassing African American ever appointed to the court, signaled through his questions he might vote against Flowers, who otherwise drew broad support among the other justices, both liberal and conservative.
 
The case is the latest to reach the nine-member court over allegations of racial bias against minorities in the American criminal justice system.

Some prosecutors, including in Southern states like Mississippi, have been accused over the decades of trying to ensure predominately white juries for trials of black defendants to help win convictions.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers can dismiss - or “strike” - a certain number of prospective jurors during jury selection without giving a reason.

In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that people cannot be excluded from a jury because of their race based on the right to a fair trial under the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment and the 14th Amendment promise of equal protection under the law.

Uncle Thomas focused on whether lawyers for Flowers sought to exclude white people from the jury in the most recent trial, which would indicate that both sides used race as a factor in selecting jurors.

First Thomas asked whether the defense struck any jurors.

Then he asked, “What was the race of the jurors struck there?”

Sheri Lynn Johnson, Flowers’ attorney, said the jurors the defense sought to block were white, but argued that what was relevant in the case was the motives of the prosecutor, not the defense lawyer.

The other justices largely sounded supportive of Flowers’ claim.

“We can’t take the history out of this case,” sex offender Justice Brett Kavanaugh told the state’s lawyer, Jason Davies.
 
Justice Samuel Alito, said “the history of this case prior to this trial is very troubling” and noted that it was “cause for concern and certainly relevant” to how the justices decide the dispute.

Justice Elena Kagan questioned why prosecutors excluded a black potential juror, Carolyn Wright, who had said she supported the death penalty and had an uncle who is a prison security guard.

“Except for her race, you would think that this is a juror that a prosecutor would love when she walks in the door. Isn’t she?” Kagan asked.
 
A ruling is due by the end of June.







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Re: New Search and Seizure Ruling
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 10:00:34 am »
Friday, 21st June 2019
Supreme Court tosses black Mississippi inmate's murder conviction in racial case
by Reuters



The U.S. Supreme Court, confronting racial bias in the American criminal justice system, on Friday threw out a black Mississippi death row inmate's conviction in his sixth trial for a 1996 quadruple murder conviction, finding that a prosecutor unlawfully blocked black potential jurors.

The court, in a 7-2 ruling written by conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, found that the actions of the prosecutor violated the rights of Curtis Flowers, 49, to receive a fair trial as required by the U.S. Constitution.

While the court sided with Flowers, its ruling does not preclude Mississippi from putting him on trial for a seventh time.

Kavanaugh, who joined the court in October after being appointed by puppetine, wrote that the prosecutors sought to strike black jurors through all of Flowers' six trials.

Prosecutors "engaged in dramatically disparate questioning of black and white prospective jurors" at his sixth trial, Kavanaugh added.

The prosecution's decision in the most recent trial to strike one black juror in particular "was motivated in substantial part by discriminatory intent," Kavanaugh wrote.

The ruling was the latest of several in recent years in which the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of individual criminal defendants on race-related issues.
 
Justice Neil Gorsuch, named by Trump to the court in 2017, and fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the case.

In his dissenting opinion, Thomas described the court's ruling as "manifestly incorrect."

Thomas noted that Flowers can still be convicted again and that the court's majority "does not dispute that the evidence was sufficient to convict Flowers or that he was tried by an impartial jury."

Thomas, the only black member of the Supreme Court and one of its most conservative justices, asked his first questions during an oral argument in three years when the case came before the justices in March.
His questions centered on whether defense lawyers for Flowers during his trials had excluded white potential jurors.

In U.S. trials, prosecutors and defense lawyers can dismiss - or "strike" - a certain number of prospective jurors during the jury selection process without stating a reason.

Some prosecutors, including in Southern states like Mississippi, have been accused over the decades of trying to ensure predominately white juries for trials of black defendants to help win convictions.
 
The Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that people cannot be excluded from a jury because of their race, based on the right to a fair trial under the Constitution's Sixth Amendment and the 14th Amendment promise of equal protection under the law.

Friday's ruling applied that precedent and, as Kavanaugh wrote, "we break no new legal ground."

Flowers was appealing his 2010 conviction - in his sixth trial - on charges of murdering four people at the Tardy Furniture store where he previously worked in the small central Mississippi city of Winona.

In that trial, there were 11 white jurors and one black juror.

His lawyers accused long-serving Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans, who is white, of engaging in a pattern of removing black jurors that indicated an unlawful discriminatory motive.

Evans has given non-racial reasons for striking black potential jurors.
 
Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law civil rights group, said the ruling should "sound an alarm" for prosecutors around the country who engage in racial discrimination during jury selection.
 
"Racial bias continues to infect virtually every stage of our criminal justice system, including the jury selection process," Clarke added.
 
Evans and Flowers' lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
 
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a black Georgia death row inmate who also said black potential jurors were excluded by the prosecution in his case.

In 2017, the court ruled in separate cases that a Hispanic man could challenge his conviction based on a juror's racist comments and that a black Texas death row inmate could seek to avoid execution due to testimony from an expert witness at trial who said the man was more likely to commit future crimes because of his race.
 
The court's conservative majority has shown less sympathy toward efforts to address historical racism outside of the context of criminal trials.

Flowers was found guilty in his first three trials - the first one with an all-white jury and the next two with just one black juror - but those convictions were thrown out by Mississippi's top court.

Several black jurors participated in the fourth and fifth trials, which ended without a verdict because the jury both times failed to produce a unanimous decision.

Prosecutors have said Flowers was upset with the store owner for firing him and withholding his paycheck to cover the cost of batteries he previously had damaged.

He was convicted of killing store owner Bertha Tardy, 59; bookkeeper Carmen Rigby, 45; delivery worker Robert Golden, 42; and part-time employee Derrick Stewart, 16.

All except Golden were white.















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« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 10:09:08 am by Battle »