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Cleveland v. Lynch, Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga), Dec. 6, 2012

Question: If peace officers make a warrantless entry into a suspect’s home for a traffic offense even though they didn’t see the offense and don’t have a reasonable belief that the suspect is injured, have they violated the Fourth Amendment?
Quick answer: Yes.


State v. Thomas, Third District Court of Appeals, Dec. 3, 2012

Question: Can peace officers use information from several years ago to obtain a search warrant?
Quick answer: Yes, as long as the officers show in the warrant affidavit that the information is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.


State v. Jackson, Fifth District Court of Appeals, Nov. 29, 2012

Question: Can peace officers search a parolee’s home without a warrant?
Quick answer: Yes, but only if a parole officer has requested peace officer assistance and reasonable grounds exist to conduct the search.


Course helps law enforcement, schools partner for safety

In this day and age, gun violence in schools is a harsh reality. Unfortunately, teachers and administrators need to be as prepared for school-shooting emergencies as they are for fires and tornadoes. And the best partner in this preparation is law enforcement.


Big Picture Issue: Consent

This is part of an occasional series of articles on broad law enforcement topics.

Consent is one of the most important exceptions to the search warrant requirement because it requires no level of suspicion. An officer can ask any person for consent to search a home, car, or container over which that the person has authority. In its broadest sense, consent is the voluntary agreement of one person to let another person do something.


Survey, eOPOTA course address sexual assault issues

Because about two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, sexual assault cases can be difficult from the start. A new eOPOTA course, Responding to Sexual Assault, can help law enforcement and prosecutors better understand sexual assault dynamics and how perpetrators take advantage of societal myths and misperceptions.


AG Encourages Collaboration on School Safety Measures

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine encourages local teams of law enforcement and educators to attend a new school safety course that will be offered around the state beginning in January and to collaborate on required school safety plans.


Trending in the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases of interest to the criminal justice community this term. Decisions are expected by mid-2013.


State v. Platt — Twelfth District Court of Appeals (Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble, and Warren counties), Nov. 13, 2012

Question: Does a peace officer violate a suspect’s Fifth Amendment right if the officer does not inform the suspect that anything he says will be used against him in a court of law?
Quick Answer: No, as long as the suspect is told the substance of his constitutional rights, there is no need to issue a Miranda warning verbatim.


State v. Miller — Second District Court of Appeals (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery counties), Nov. 9, 2012

Question: If peace officers attempt a “knock-and-talk” but the occupant immediately slams the door and refuses to talk, do the officers have any authority to issue commands to the occupant? 
Quick Answer: No. Without a search warrant, the officers have no authority to command the occupants to open the door or to open it themselves.


State v. Powell — Second District Court of Appeals (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery counties), Nov. 2, 2012

Question: Is a suspect’s consent to search freely and voluntarily given when law enforcement doesn’t read a consent to search form verbatim?
Quick Answer: Yes, as long as the form is explained to the suspect, and it’s signed freely, the consent is freely and voluntarily given.


State v. Roberson — Second District Court of Appeals (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery counties), Nov. 2, 2012

Question: When multiple peace officers have secured the premises, may they search a suspect’s luggage for a firearm without a warrant?
Quick Answer: No, the allegation that there is a firearm on the premises does not create exigent circumstances if the scene is secured. A warrant is needed to search.


State v. Garcia — Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County), Nov. 1, 2012

Question: When a peace officer in his patrol car tells a citizen to stop and talk to him, is this a consensual encounter?
Quick Answer: No, it’s an investigatory stop for which an officer needs reasonable suspicion.


Campbell v. City of Springboro — Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee), Nov. 29, 2012

Question: Can a canine officer’s handler be civilly liable when the canine bites a suspect in the line of duty?
Quick Answer: Maybe. It may depend on whether the dog’s state certification remains current and whether the dog goes through periodic maintenance training.


United States v. Oehne — Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Connecticut, New York, Vermont), Oct. 25, 2012

Question: If a suspect informs peace officers that he has a lawyer for a separate, unrelated charge, must officers abandon all questioning?
Quick Answer: No, because a suspect’s request for counsel must be unambiguous.


United States v. Smith — Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin), Oct. 4, 2012

Question: Does a peace officer exceed the scope of a Terry investigatory stop if he approaches a suspect with a gun drawn and proceeds to handcuff the suspect?
Quick Answer: No, but the officer’s actions must be reasonable under the circumstances.


Hensley v. Gassman — Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee), Sept. 11, 2012

Question: Can officers’ participation in the repossession of a car lead to a Fourth Amendment violation?

Quick Answer: Yes, if there is no apparent legal basis for a repossession, officers violate the Fourth Amendment by taking an active role in a private repossession.


U.S. v. Navedo — Third Circuit Court of Appeals (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), Sept. 12, 2012

Question: Do officers have reasonable suspicion to stop and question a suspect if they observe him looking at a gun followed by the suspect’s flight away from the officers, and does that justify the officers’ warrantless entry into his apartment, where the firearms were seized?

Quick Answer: No, without some other indicia of wrongdoing, mere unprovoked flight from the approaching officers does not support probable cause to arrest.


United States v. Snard — Third Circuit Court of Appeals (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), Sept. 21, 2012

Question: Was a search under box springs and a mattress permissible under the protective sweep doctrine?

Quick Answer: Yes, a protective sweep can extend to looking under a mattress because it is a common hiding place.


United States v. Griffin — Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Alabama, Florida and Georgia), Oct. 2, 2012

Question: Does a valid stop and frisk become unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment when an officer asks some brief questions that are unrelated to the reason for the stop and the purpose of the frisk?

Quick Answer: No, as long as the unrelated questions are brief and do not prolong the stop.


State v. Wade — Ninth District Court of Appeals (Lorain, Medina, Summit, Wayne), Sept. 19, 2012

Question: If no occupant of a car has access to the vehicle, are officers still able to rely on concerns relating to safety and destruction of evidence to conduct a limited search?

Quick Answer: If the occupants will be allowed to return to the vehicle, a limited search is a reasonable protective measure because the occupants could regain immediate control of a weapon once back in the car.


State v. Wilcox — Fifth District Court of Appeals, Sept. 25, 2012

Question: Does an illegal seizure take place if peace officers instruct a suspect to put her purse on the hood of the vehicle, and does an illegal search take place when they look inside it after a K-9 unit alerts to it?

Quick Answer: No, instructing a suspect to put a purse on the hood of a car is not a search. And when an officer is reasonably diligent in conducting a stop, an alert by a K-9 is not unconstitutional.


State v. Whitten — Second District Court of Appeals (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery), Sept. 28, 2012

Question: May an officer remove a package from a suspect’s clothing based on an assumption that it contains contraband?  

Quick Answer: Yes, if it appears to be a weapon or if the suspect admits that it is contraband.


State v. Luong — Twelfth District Court of Appeals (Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble), Oct. 1, 2012

Question: Did firefighters and peace officers have an objective, reasonable belief that an immediate entry into the residence was necessary in order to protect any persons or property or to prevent the destruction of evidence inside?

Quick Answer: Yes, if exigent circumstances exist, such as a need to protect life and property and to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, peace officers may enter a suspect’s residence without a search warrant.



State v. Rogers — Second District Court of Appeals (Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery), Oct. 12, 2012

Question: Did officers illegally expand the scope and duration of an original traffic stop when they asked a suspect to talk with them without first advising him that he could refuse.

Quick Answer: Yes, once the reason for the traffic stop ended, officers detained the suspect illegally, thereby tainting his ability to consent.

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