Search and Seizure

Articles Posted in Search and Seizure

In a recent opinion from a Michigan court involving drug possession, the prosecution asked for the court to reconsider its previous order allowing the defendant to suppress incriminating evidence against him. The defendant had filed a motion to suppress evidence and dismiss charges of possession of a controlled substance less than 25 grams and possession of marijuana. The trial court agreed with the defendant that the drugs should not be used as evidence against him, as the police officer that looked in his car had not followed the correct departmental protocols while conducting the search. The higher court in Michigan...
The United States Supreme Court recently issued an opinion stemming from officers’ intentional use of force to apprehend an individual. The decision will likely impact the Michigan criminal defendant’s ability to hold police accountable for misconduct. More importantly for those facing criminal charges, the opinion will also likely have implications for how courts interpret search and seizure laws. The case stemmed from an incident where investigating officers were at an apartment complex. They approached the woman’s vehicle, and the woman fled, believing the officers were attempting to carjack her vehicle. As she was fleeing, the officers fired their weapons 13...
Recently a state appellate court issued a per curiam decision in a defendant’s appeal of her Michigan drug offense conviction. The case arose when officers discovered a bag of cocaine in a store dressing room. An officer approached the defendant and her friend inquiring about the drugs, and the defendant admitted that the cocaine was hers. The defendant unsuccessfully motioned to suppress her confession because they were given involuntarily and in violation of her Miranda rights. A jury convicted the defendant of possession of cocaine. The officer testified that he did not threaten, restrain, or block her ability to exit...
The United States and Michigan Constitutions provide residents with certain rights. Among those is the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. While a person’s right to be free from unreasonable searches varies somewhat depending on where they are located, there is no greater protection afforded to a person’s home. Indeed, under Michigan law, generally, “a search of a seizure within a home or its curtilage without a warrant is per se an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.” Typically, when evidence is seized in violation of the state or federal constitution, it cannot be used at trial....
The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures of themselves or their property by law enforcement. The Fourth Amendment holds especially dear the sanctity of a person’s home in determining whether a search or arrest is reasonable. In Michigan, people are protected from arrest in their homes unless a law enforcement officer has a warrant to enter the home or probable cause that the defendant has committed a serious crime. The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s decision to suppress confession and breath test evidence and grant a...
Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Michigan resisting arrest case in which the defendant claimed his conviction could not stand because he was lawfully resisting a police officer’s illegal seizure. Ultimately, the court agreed with the defendant, and reversed his conviction. The Facts of the Case According to the court’s opinion, police officers received a phone call reporting a man with a gun in a trailer park. Upon the officers’ arrival, the trailer park manager explained several people were in one of the trailers who did not live in the park. One of the men, the...
Recently, a state appellate court addressed a defendant’s appeal in a Michigan homicide case, arguing that a lower court should have suppressed a statement he made to police during an interrogation because they ignored his request for an attorney. According to the record, the 19-year-old defendant lived in the same neighborhood as the victim and was friends with him since kindergarten. The state contends that the defendant shot and killed the victim in a wooded area near the neighborhood, and returned to the scene about a month later to show his girlfriend the victim’s body. The man and his girlfriend...
Recently, a Michigan appellate court issued an opinion stemming from a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence based on his Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In this case, the defendant was a passenger in a vehicle. The police pulled over the vehicle for having cracks in the windshield. When deputies approached the car, they noticed firearms on the floor, sitting in front of the defendant. The deputies searched the car and discovered that the gun was loaded. They also discovered heroin and cocaine behind the passenger door handle. The defendant was charged with several serious...
Last month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Michigan drug case discussing whether police officers had probable cause to arrest the defendant for the distribution of drugs. Ultimately, the court concluded that, while the defendant was not the one selling the drugs, his presence at the scene as well as his conduct, gave officers probable cause to arrest him. The Facts of the Case According to the court’s opinion, undercover police officers arranged to buy LSD from a woman at the Electric Forest Music Festival. When officers met up with the woman, she was accompanied by the...
The United States and Michigan Constitutions provide all citizens with the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. For a long time, courts have interpreted this language to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before searching a person’s belongings. However, the language provides no remedy when a police officer violates a citizen’s rights. This is where the exclusionary rule comes into play. The Michigan exclusionary rule is a judicially created rule that precludes the prosecution from using evidence that was obtained in violation of a person’s rights. Thus, if police conduct an illegal search of a person,...