Friday, March 01, 2013

Latest Supreme Court Opinions - Fourth Amendment, Plain Error, Padilla, Double Jeopardy

Florida v. Harris, No. 11-817 (Kagan, unanimous)
The government does not need to produce a dog’s training and certification records, in addition to other evidence, to demonstrate a drug detection dog’s reliability. Instead, "[t]he question—similar to every inquiry into probable cause—is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime. A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test." In so holding, the Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.
[The other dog sniff case, Florida v. Jardines (No. 11-564), which presents the question "whether a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause," has not yet been decided.]

Bailey v. United States, No. 11-770 (Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, majority; Breyer, Thomas, and Alito, dissent)The detention of an individual who had left the premises before the search began and was a mile away before police detained him was not lawful under Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981), which authorizes law enforcement officers "to detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search is conducted" without need for any level of suspicion. The Court added that "[i]n closer cases courts can consider a number of factors to determine whether an occupant was detained within the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched, including the lawful limits of the premises, whether the occupant was within the line of sight of his dwelling, the ease of reentry from the occupant’s location, and other relevant factors." Lawful detention under an alternative avenue, such as a Terry stop, is of course still possible.
Henderson v. United States, No. 11-9307 (Breyer, Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, majority; Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, dissent)
Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), error is plain if it is clear at the time of appeal.

Chaidez v. United States, No. 11-820 (Kagan, Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito, majority; Thomas, concurrence; Sotomayor and Ginsburg, dissent)
Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U. S. ___ (2010), does not apply retroactively to cases already final on direct review. In Padilla, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires an attorney for a criminal defendant to provide advice about the risk of deportation arising from a guilty plea. The Court concludes in Chaidez that, "under the principles set out in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989), Padilla does not have retroactive effect."

Evans v. Michigan, No. 11-1327 (Sotomayor, Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, majority; Alito, dissent)
Retrial following a court-decreed acquittal is barred, even if the acquittal was based on an incorrect legal conclusion, as was the case here.

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