Articles Tagged with fourth amendment rights

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240A police search without a warrant is illegal without consent. It is unlawful for a police officer to enter a person’s home or vehicle without a warrant, without consent, or without an exigent circumstance, such as seeing through a window or hearing domestic violence within the house. Additionally, it is unlawful for a law enforcement agent to coerce a person into consenting to a search, whether that coercion is expressed or implied. Furthermore, according to the Criminal Law Digest, “A defendant’s initial refusal to consent is an important factor in determining whether later consent is voluntary. The fact that defendant signed a written consent form is not dispositive in deciding whether consent was voluntary where circumstances show the consent was obtained through coercion.” This very scenario happened to a Chicago resident.

Fake Call of a Break-in Leads to Illegal Search and Seizure

Chicago police responded to an anonymous tip about a man growing marijuana in his residence. When the officers arrived at the residence, they found no one at home. They called the man with a fake story of a home break in, at which point the then suspect drove home and was confronted by the police officer. The defendant asked if the officer had a search warrant, which he did not. However the officer said that if the defendant did not sign a consent form right then and there, that he would be taken to jail, which would not have been lawful. And, if the defendant signed the form, he would not be arrested on that day. The defendant signed the consent search form, the officer found contraband, and he was arrested. The court  found that the police officer had tricked, intimidated, and threatened the defendant, and that the voluntary consent form was not actually signed voluntarily. The court remanded for a new trial, reversed the conviction, and threw out all evidence from the illegal search.

a-l-117960-copy-300x198Vehicle searches can be lawfully carried out in Chicago with or without your consent. The penal code in Chicago gives the police many powers so that they can stop criminals and prevent crime. The law specifies the situations in which the police can search a car. Normally these situations arise if there is a strong suspicion that the vehicle contains an illicit substance or a criminal. The search might also be done if there is suspicion that the car has been used or is about to be used to commit a crime. Failure to follow procedures can be grounds for a criminal defense.

Failure to stop and submit to a lawful vehicle search can be a crime. If there is a court case, the fact that the defendant refused the search can be used by the judge and jury to assume that they must have been doing something wrong. This is what is known as an “adverse inference” and can turn a case against the defendant. The evidence that has been found during a vehicle search can be used in a court case such as for drug charges.

Understanding the Rules on Consent

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240In the legal world, few matters are as controversial as those that allow confiscation and forfeiture by the police. It is something that has dramatically polarized the two sides. It is rare that you will find someone who is neither truly “for” nor truly “against” these laws. Those who are in favor of the police departments being legally allowed to confiscate goods and money hold that law enforcement is taking away the proceeds of criminal enterprises. Staunch advocates, however, state that the police are nothing but thieves with badges who are taking the property of citizens without trials or due process. This issue is a complex one, to say the least.

Policing for Profit

To understand the law in Chicago, one must first understand what civil forfeiture and confiscation means and how it would apply to the person being affected by it. The standard rule of law used in Chicago dictates that police may confiscate property, including money, that meets certain criteria. These criteria are simple and, to some, are far too broad: Law enforcement officers have to believe that the property was used in a crime, is intended to be used in a crime, or has been obtained in connection with a crime. As you can see, this is a straightforward, if broad, list.