Category: Fourth Amendment

Police Drones in South Carolina

Across the country, police departments are increasingly using unmanned drones for law enforcement. Two things are clear: 1) Use of drones by police is a reality that is already here; and 2) The scope of the use of drones by police will continue to expand over the next few decades. Although many civil rights groups [..]

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Curtilage Revisited – Trafficking Weight Cocaine Suppressed

Last December, I wrote about State v. Bash, where the S.C. Supreme Court thankfully re-affirmed that a police officer cannot enter a person’s yard without a warrant or exigent circumstances in order to search for drugs.  The defendant was charged with trafficking in cocaine > 400 grams and trafficking in crack cocaine 10-28 grams.  The [..]

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Curtilage – Can a Police Officer Search Your Yard Without a Warrant?

In State v. Bash, a unanimous S.C. Supreme Court upheld the circuit court’s suppression of powder and crack cocaine based on the officers’ unconstitutional search of the defendant’s yard without consent or a warrant.  An officer testified at trial that “one of the agents . . . received . . . a phone call stating [..]

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Search Warrants – Constitutional and Statutory Requirements

All search warrants are not created equal – if a search warrant is issued and does not meet the constitutional requirements, outlined in the U.S. and S.C. Constitutions, federal and state case law, and the S.C. Code, the evidence obtained with the search warrant may be excluded at trial. Constitutional Requirements Search warrants, how they [..]

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Murder Conviction Affirmed – State v. Porch

In State v. Porch, decided August 3, 2016 the S.C. Court of Appeals rejected Franks v. Delaware and Confrontation Clause claims.  The Court found that any facts omitted from Porch’s arrest warrant would not have changed the probable cause analysis, and the Confrontation Clause claim was not preserved for appellate review.  The state had unsuccessfully [..]

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