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Posts tagged "constitutional rights"

Should it be a crime to refuse to open your door to the police?

In March 2016, police were notified of a loud argument at an apartment in Seattle, Washington. By the time police arrived at Solomon McLemore's apartment, the argument had subsided, but police say they heard the sound of glass shattering inside. For 15 minutes, the police engaged in an argument with McLemore about whether he should open the door.

Even in the border zone, searches and seizures must be reasonable

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable government searches and seizures. The general rule is that the government needs a warrant, or an exception to the warrant requirement, for a search or seizure to be constitutional. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that no warrant or even probable cause is required for customs officers to search at the U.S. border or 100 miles into the interior in what is called the "border zone." The border zone includes Houston, San Antonio and even New Braunfels.

Dallas County is running 15-second, closed-door bail hearings

At the Dallas County jail, about 5,000 people are held behind bars every day. So far this year, only 23 percent have been able to post bail, leaving most trapped in pretrial detention. After days or weeks in jail, with their housing and jobs often lost, most end up pleading guilty regardless of their actual guilt.

Supreme Court to review property seizures after drug arrests

Especially in cases involving drugs, state and federal governments have the authority to seize property that can be tied to illegal activity. These seizures are often performed before the owner has been tried and can be extremely difficult to reverse, even when the defendant is never convicted. How far can the government go with these seizures?

Supreme Court: Warrant required when police search your driveway

The Supreme Court has long ruled that homes and their associated premises deserve special protection from overzealous law enforcement searches. While police are generally required by the Fourth Amendment to get warrants before conducting searches, there are a wide variety of exceptions to that rule. When it comes to the home and what the courts call the home's "curtilage," however, courts scrutinize those exceptions carefully.

Police say no warrant necessary to probe ancestry DNA database

When you send in your genetic material to have an ancestry DNA test done, is that material private? Major commercial providers of these tests say they won't hand the data over to law enforcement without a court order. That may not mean much, as we recently learned in the "Golden State Killer" case.

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