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Just a Man
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@SCOTUSblog
Here is a link to the #SCOTUS opinion in Collins v. Virginia: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1027_7lio.pdf …

10:11 AM - 29 May 2018

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/poli...arch-automobiles-without-a-warrant/index.html

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the 8-1 opinion, sending the case back down to a lower court to determine whether there may have been other justifications for the warrant-less search.
"This case presents the question whether the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment permits a police officer, uninvited without a warrant, to enter the curtilage of a home in order to search a vehicle parked therein," she wrote. "It does not," she wrote.

"Sotomayor noted that in the past the court has held that a search of an automobile can be conducted without a warrant under certain circumstances. But she said that the so called "automobile exception" does not apply when the vehicle is so near to a home."
 

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American
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Thanks, good news from the Supremes is always welcome.
 

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GeePeeDoHolic
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Why does Alito ignore the tarp in his dissent? Seems to be a key determining factor.
I agree. Walking onto the property to lift a tarp would seem to be crossing an important line. That doesn't fit my definition of in plain view.

I also got the idea that Alito was calling the other eight "a ass, a idiot" and they lack common sense as well with his Dickens quote. :)
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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I don't like the broad sweep of the "automobile exception" to the 4th Amendment.
I never have.
Our automobiles are like our homes in many ways. I spend as much time awake in my vehicle as I do awake in my home. I have many important papers and documents in my vehicle-- papers related to every aspect of my personal affairs, my business and client files, gun ownership, church, etc.

Anyhow, the Supreme Court has long ago gutted the 4th Amendment when you travel away from your own home, so it is what it is. Given that there IS an "automobile exception" to the 4th Amendment, I ALSO think the other justices were right, and Alito was wrong, in saying a warrant would be required to search for stolen property reasonably believed to be located just outside a home, in the part of the driveway near the home and carport, and covered with a tarp.

The tarp, to me, shows that AT THAT MOMENT the vehicle was not about to be used as a motor vehicle, and that, instead, it was just another item of personal property stored at that home (the girlfriend of the motorcycle thief and street racer).

Could the motorcycle be moved within a few minutes, if Ryan Austin Collins had wanted to drive it away or ride it up onto the back of a flatbed trailer and haul it off? Sure, that could probably be accomplished before the cops could get a warrant and physically bring that piece of paper to that address.

But, if portability of personal property is yet another exception to the 4th Amendment, even in and around your own home, where does THAT slippery slope lead? Can a criminal pack up a hundred thousand dollars worth of cocaine in a suitcase and take it into his (not stolen, properly registered and insured) car and drive away in a few minutes?
Can a criminal in possession of a stolen TV set and a stolen shotgun and a stolen chainsaw move all those items from his carport into a wheelbarrow and walk them down the block to his friend's house-- an address that will NOT be listed on the soon-to-arrive search warrant, and thus prevent the cops from searching that friend's house and checking the serial numbers on the items? Sure. Criminals can do that.

BUT, Justice Alito totally ignored the fact that cops, in such a situation, could have easily handled it differently and legally. Even before officer Rhodes peeked under the tarp to check the license plate and VIN of that motorcycle, there was ALREADY probable cause that it was evidence in a crime (street racing, fleeing police) and stolen property itself. This is due to the cops having seen pics of the uncovered motorcycle sitting in that exact same spot, with the suspect posing by it. THEREFORE, cops could have gotten the warrant based on a simple drive-by of the home and the officer telling the magistrate these circumstances. One cop can stay at the scene and keep the home and the vehicle under surveillance, while another cop makes an application for the search warrant for that address.

Furthermore, since the incriminating identity of the motorcycle would be obvious if the tarp were taken off, and since you can't ride a motorcycle while it is tarped, if the criminal in this case HAD gotten on the bike and tried to leave with it, cops could have arrested him the moment his tires hit the public street, or even when he got far enough down the driveway so the "curtilage" doctrine didn't apply. If, for example, his girlfriend lived on a large piece of property and Mr. Collins rode that stolen cycle 100 yards down a dirt trail into the woods (all private property) and came back on foot, cops could immediately go walk over to it and search it and seize it.

Justice Alito mocks the majority's unthinking, bright-line application of the "curtilage" rule, but Alito himself advocates for an unthinking robotic application of the "automobile exception" rule. Any vehicle stored outdoors and apparently capable of self-propelled motion is fair game for cops to search anytime, per Alito.

I disagree, and I hope the other Justices will continue to reject that line of thinking in future cases.
 

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there are no "exceptions" in the Constitution. what a sham.
Considering how courts, including the Supreme Court, have eviscerated the Constitution over the years, there are exceptions, whether we like them or not. Learn to live with them until the Court and the Legislature regain their moral compass and clean up the sh*t pile they've created. In the interim, any opinions that curtail any further encroachment by petty tyrants are welcomed.
 
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G W Bush's appointees to the court are among the most disappointing judicial picks I have seen.
 

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Just a Man
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
VOLOKH CONSPIRACY
Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

Collins v. Virginia and "the Conception Defining the Curtilage"
A familiar idea "easily understood from our daily experience" -- or is it?

Orin Kerr|May. 29, 2018 3:44 pm

To my mind, the most interesting aspect of Collins concerns a brief preliminary part of the decision, the Court's identification of the curtilage. As Fourth Amendment nerds know, curtilage is the space immediately around the home that gets treated as an extension of the home for Fourth Amendment purposes. As I teach the concept in class, the law needs curtilage because otherwise the police could go right up to someone's windows and peer inside without it being a Fourth Amendment "search." Curtilage creates a sort of buffer around the home to make sure the home is fully protected fro observation.

This raises a puzzle, how do you identify the curtilage? The Court seems to go back and forth between thinking it's easy and thinking it's hard. Recent cases suggest the concept is easy and intuitive, but I wonder if that is true. I thought I would explain the basis for my sketpicism.
 

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As a side note, on the topic of what you can and can't do on your own private property, I have read of these two incidents happening, and it makes me tend to puke through my nose:

1) A guy got a DUI. For mowing the freaking grass, on his own freaking property, while over the BAC on alcohol. I almost never drink now, but if a cop ever did that to me, I would probably also be charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a cop. I may even be charged for beating the living sheatt out of said cop, if I was able to do so.

2) A guy got a DUI. For washing his freaking car, on his own freaking driveway. A cop drove by, noticed a beer sitting on the hood of his car. The keys were in the ignition, because the guy was listening to his stereo while working. The engine was cold - he didn't just get home after driving drunk. But in the eyes of the law, he was technically DUI.

It is things like this that really disgust me. In my eyes, up to a point, your own property is almost a sovereign nation. As long as what you are doing does not affect anyone else negatively. But not in this imperial country, where people get off on controlling other people.

There's my grumpy old man rant for the day.
 

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Was there a conviction in either case?

Nemo
 

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1) A guy got a DUI. For mowing the freaking grass, on his own freaking property, while over the BAC on alcohol. I almost never drink now, but if a cop ever did that to me, I would probably also be charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a cop. I may even be charged for beating the living sheatt out of said cop, if I was able to do so.
A quick DDG search comes up with lots of idiots arrested for intoxication while driving lawnmowers on public property but not on private property. Some of the videos are funny. One guy was arrested for driving his lawnmower, under the influence, to his neighbor's yard, mowing the neighbor's lawn without permission and driving home.
 

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2) A guy got a DUI. For washing his freaking car, on his own freaking driveway. A cop drove by, noticed a beer sitting on the hood of his car. The keys were in the ignition, because the guy was listening to his stereo while working. The engine was cold - he didn't just get home after driving drunk. But in the eyes of the law, he was technically DUI.
Some of the elements of DUI include having the keys in the ignition and being in physical control of the car. Different states have different interpretations. Talk about contradictory.
 

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It is things like this that really disgust me. In my eyes, up to a point, your own property is almost a sovereign nation. As long as what you are doing does not affect anyone else negatively. But not in this imperial country, where people get off on controlling other people.

There's my grumpy old man rant for the day.
Many times it depends on whether the cop driving by got laid last night or had an extra helping of roids for breakfast or who knows what. Now go drink your prune juice. :lol:
 

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I don't think I want to legalize drunk driving in shopping center parking lots, which are private property, such that it would be perfectly legal for a drunk to stagger out of a bar and try to drive home, and cops cannot legally stop him until he reaches the public street (if he makes it that far).

Yes, you can get a DUI for any moving vehicle. Not motor vehicle, not a running vehicle, not a powered vehicle, but any vehicle that moves.

However, movement is a requirement. I've never heard of a DUI prosecution where the vehicle wasn't either being moved by the impaired suspect or had recently been moved there, and then the driver gets impaired while still sitting in it where he parked it a short time prior.
 

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Just a Man
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Let's stay on topic please. If you want to debate DUI cases make your own thread.
 

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GeePeeDoHolic
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So, while Justice Thomas agrees that the search was unconstitutional, he does not agree that the evidence should have been suppressed.

The Founders would not have understood the logic of the exclusionary rule either. Historically, if evidence was relevant and reliable, its admissibility did not "depend upon the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the mode, by which it [was] obtained." United States v. The La Jeune Eugenie, 26 F. Cas. 832, 843 (No. 15, 551) (CC Mass. 1822)
He essentially says if you're guilty, it doesn't matter. Indeed:
And the common law sometimes reflected the inverse of the exclusionary rule: The fact that someone turned out to be guilty could justify an illegal seizure.
So, what prevents sweeps through your houses, cars, papers, and effects?
Historically, the only remedies for unconstitutional searches and seizures were "tort suits" and "self-help."
If you turn out to be innocent, you can sue? Sure. What could go wrong?
 

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So, while Justice Thomas agrees that the search was unconstitutional, he does not agree that the evidence should have been suppressed.

He essentially says if you're guilty, it doesn't matter. Indeed:

So, what prevents sweeps through your houses, cars, papers, and effects?

If you turn out to be innocent, you can sue? Sure. What could go wrong?
That's because the exclusionary rule is not in the Constitution, and Justice Thomas is the only one that intends to stick closely to the Constitution.

The exclusionary rule was made up by judges. Thomas adheres to a philosophy of judicial restraint, and one of the main tenets of that philosophy is that judges do not get to make up the law but merely "say what the law is," as Marbury v. Madison put it. The Fourth Amendment does not call for or even invite the exclusion of evidence as a remedy for unconstitutional search and seizure. It was not part of English common law, none of the Founders mentioned it, and even their grandchildren were dead before it became a part of judicial case law, invented by judges as substantive law, as if judges were themselves legislators or the writers of constitutional text.
 
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