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Showing posts from June, 2014

Use of a "Moocher Hunter" to Determine a Computer's Whereabouts is not a Search Under the Fourth Amendment

In United States v. Stanley, No. 13-1910, the defendant was "mooching" off a neighbor's wireless internet router, which was not password-protected.  The officer realized this when he traced the IP address and obtained the subscriber information from Comcast, executed a search warrant at the neighbor's home, and did not find the child pornography he suspected had been downloaded from a file sharing network.  The officer then used a "moocher hunter," which is a mobile tracking software tool, to determine the whereabouts of the computer that was "mooching" off the neighbor's wireless router.

The Third Circuit held that this was not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.  The Court distinguished Kyllo v. United States, 537 U.S. 27 (2001) (the thermal imaging case), because in that case, the defendant confined his marijuana growing activities to the home.  Here, the defendant made no effort to confine his activities to his own home.  …

To qualify for the exception to the warrant requirement, a "knock and talk" encounter must begin at the front door

Responding to a police dispatch, Pennsylvania State Trooper Jeremy Carroll and another trooper proceeded to the home of Andrew and Karen Carman. The troopers were looking for a man who had stolen two loaded handguns and a car with New Jersey plates. They had neither a warrant to search the Carmans' property, nor a warrant to arrest the theft suspect. Upon arriving at the Carman residence, the troopers bypassed the front door of the home and proceeded directly to the back of the house and onto a deck adjoining the kitchen. On the deck, Trooper Carroll and Andrew Carman scuffled. The Carmans' brought unlawful entry and unlawful seizure claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case proceeded to trial. After opening arguments and at the close of Carroll's testimony, the Carmans moved for a directed verdict based on Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409 (2013). The District Court denied the motions.Both claims were also rejected by a jury. This appeal followed.

On appeal, the Third Cir…

Five Years of Inaction Leads to Dismissal of Case Due to Violation of Right to Speedy Trial

In United States v.Velazquez, No 12-3992 (3d. Cir. April 14, 2014), the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s decision to deny Velazquez’s motion to dismiss based on a violation of his right to a speedy trial. After investigating Velazquez on narcotics charges, the DEA attempted to find him at the address of one of his associates, but he was not there.The DEA declared Velazquez a fugitive, leaving his apprehension to the United States Marshalls Service, where Degan was assigned to the case.In November 2005, Degan transferred.Between November 2005 and November 2010, authorities only checked NCIC eight times to find out whether any law enforcement agencies encountered Velazquez.The DEA included him on the “Most Wanted” section of the website for the local DEA office.The DEA renewed the search for Velazquez in November 2010.In December 2011, he was arrested on an unrelated narcotics charge and extradited to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Velazquez filed a motion to dismiss the…