SCOTUS

High court: warrant needed for cell-phone searches

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court issued a key ruling in favor of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age June 25, finding unanimously that police in most cases need a warrant before searching the cellphone or personal electronic device of an arrestee. Chief Justice John Roberts firmly rejected arguments that searches of digital devices are comparable to searches police routinely carry out for contraband after making an arrest. In the cases of Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie (argued separetly, but decided together), Roberts wrote: "Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse... The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."

SCOTUS deals new blow to Fourth Amendment

Posted on April 26th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on April 22 in Navarette v. California that a traffic stop that led to a marijuana arrest was constitutional because police had reasonable suspicion the driver was intoxicated. In 2008, California Highway Patrol officers stopped Lorenzo Prado Navarette's pickup truck on a Mendocino County road based on a 911 tip about reckless driving. The officers said they smelled marijuana when approaching the vehicle. They conducted a search and found 30 pounds of cannabis. Navarette and a passenger were arrested and charged. At trial, they moved to suppress the evidence on grounds that the search violated their Fourth Amendment rights because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion when they pulled Navarette over. But in the opinion authored by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, the majority found that while an anonymous tip will not always lead to reasonable suspicion, in this case it did. The court found that "under appropriate circumstances, an anonymous tip can demonstrate sufficient indicia of reliability to provide reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop." Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent that was joined by the court's liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Conservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito lined up with the majority, as did swing voters Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. (Sacramento Bee, This Week, Jurist, April 22)

SCOTUS turns down appeal of rescheduling case

Posted on October 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court on Oct. 7 rejected a challenge to the federal government's classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug with no legitimate medical use. Challenger Americans for Safe Access contended that more than 200 studies have established that cannabis is safe and effective in relieving pain and nausea, and in relieving the effects of chemotherapy, among other medical uses. But federal courts have let stand the Drug Enforcement Administration's stance that the studies are insufficient.

SCOTUS upholds warrantless DNA collection

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 June 3 in Maryland v. King that police may collect DNA samples from individuals arrested and charged with serious crimes. The respondent in the case, Alonzo King, challenged the validity of Maryland's DNA Collection Act after state officials used a DNA sample taken after a 2009 arrest on assault charges to implicate him in a 2003 rape. In an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority found that the warrantless DNA collection does not violate Fourth Amendment rights. Kennedy wrote:

SCOTUS rules for immigrant in cannabis case

Posted on April 26th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

"The social sharing of a small amount of marijuana" by immigrants lawfully in the US does not require their automatic deportation, the Supreme Court ruled April 23. "Sharing a small amount of marijuana for no remuneration, let alone possession with intent to do so, does not fit easily into the everyday understanding of trafficking, which ordinarily means some sort of commercial dealing," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for a seven-justice majority. 

SCOTUS upholds Fourth Amendment in drug-sniff case

Posted on March 27th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

The US Supreme Court ruled March 26 in Florida v. Jardines that an alert from a drug-sniffing dog on a suspect's front porch constitutes a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The ruling upheld the Florida Supreme Court, which held that evidence gathered pursuant to search warrant obtained based on the positive alert from the dog must be suppressed because the dog's presence itself constituted a warrantless search. The case stemmed from a 2006 incident in which Miami police and DEA agents, acting on a tip, place the home of Joelis Jardines under warrantless surveillance. Following the canine alert, a warrant was obtained, which uncovered Jardines' indoor grow operaiton.

Supreme Court upholds jailhouse strip searches

Posted on April 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 April 2 in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington that a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when he was strip-searched upon entering jail. Albert Florence was arrested in New Jersey after being pulled over, when it was found that there was an outstanding warrant against him for failure to pay a fine—a non-criminal offense in the state. He produced a letter stating that he had paid the fine, but the officer made the arrest anyway. Florence was taken to a local jail where he was forced to strip naked for inspection. He was transferred to another facility a week later, and was again subjected to a strip search.

Cannabis and Obamacare: will high court case reveal double standard?

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

An odd irony has emerged around the pending Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. As Daily Beast notes, liberal advocates of Obama's "individual mandate" are pointing to the 2005 high court decision Gonzales v. Raich, in which the justices upheld Congress' ability to ban the growth of cannabis even in states that have legalized medical marijuana—rejecting the claims of California activist Angel Raich and two co-plaintiffs, who had sued to block enforcement of federal marijuana laws against them. Advocates note that Justice Antonin Scalia deviated from his "states' rights" principles in siding with the majority. He wrote:

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