The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from "unreasonable" searches and seizures by government agents like police officers. That has generally meant that the police are required to obtain warrants before they arrest someone or search their property -- unless the police can point to a recognized exception to the warrant requirement. These exceptions include emergencies, situations where the person consents, and situations where evidence could quickly and easily be carried away or destroyed.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which a defendant's SUV was seized by the state after he was convicted of a drug crime. Many states and the federal government engage in asset seizures after drug and other arrests, often before a conviction has been obtained. All the government has to prove is that the assets in question can be tied to illegal activity -- either having been purchased with proceeds of a crime or used in the commission of it. So, what was the problem here?
"When the government tracks the location of a cell phone," writes Chief Justice John Roberts, "it achieves near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone's user."
Colorado's express consent law provides that drivers, by virtue of driving on state roadways, have already consented to take a breath or blood test when an officer has probable cause to believe the person is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Refusal to take the test results in a revocation of the driver's license. Moreover, blood tests can be performed on people who are unconscious.
Rodney Class is a bit of a celebrity among 2nd Amendment advocates and constitutional strict constructionists. A military veteran with a concealed-carry permit from North Carolina, Class considers himself a defender of the constitution -- a "private attorney general" who seeks to hold judges accountable for failing to uphold the founding document.
The U.S. Supreme Court has just heard arguments in a case where a criminal defense attorney overruled his client's decision to insist on his innocence at trial. In a Louisiana death penalty case, the attorney gauged that there was overwhelming evidence of the defendant's guilt.
Under federal law, sentencing for drug offenses and many other crimes is determined by formulas listed in the federal sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines are promulgated by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in cooperation with Congress. Sometimes, Congress and the Commission determine that the sentences for certain offenses have a tendency to be unduly harsh or unjust against a certain demographic.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a 10th Circuit drug case involving wiretap evidence. A federal judge in the District of Kansas issued a wiretap order against two suspects, but the modern wiretap process allowed law enforcement to listen even when the phones were outside that district. Should a Kansas District wiretap order be effective wherever its targets travel? Should evidence collected outside of the Kansas District be allowed against the defendants?