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Illegal Search and Seizure Archives

Iowa Supreme Court: DOT officers can't write traffic tickets

Imagine you're headed down the highway and are signaled to pull over by an official state vehicle. It's the Iowa Department of Transportation, and they say they spotted a traffic violation you committed a couple of miles back. They issue you a $150 ticket.

Iowa Supreme Court to decide legality of pretextual traffic stops

When an African-American woman from Waterloo named Scottize Brown was pulled over in 2015, it had little to do with her behavior. The officer who pulled her over had run the license plate on the vehicle she was driving and learned that the owner had alleged gang affiliations.

Iowa Supreme Court limits warrantless inventory searches of cars

"This empowerment of local law enforcement to determine the substance of Fourth Amendment protections in the context of warrantless inventory searches and seizures of automobiles is rich with irony," Justice Brent R. Appel of the Iowa Supreme Court wrote recently, "as the Fourth Amendment was explicitly designed as a bulwark to restrain law enforcement in the context of searches and seizures."

Should courts order DNA tests' source code opened to the defense?

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of criminal defendants to fully confront the witnesses and evidence against them. That includes DNA evidence, but it can be difficult to apply that right to the forensic software used to match genetic material from crime scenes to that of a defendant. Why? The software's underlying algorithms, source code, user manuals, internal validation studies and other crucial technical details are trade secrets, often owned by private companies.

Officer's demand for illegal blood draw goes viral

When we think about cases where a person has refused a chemical test in drunk driving cases, we may think of a belligerent individual who may be so impaired that they don’t understand the legal consequences of their choice. We certainly don’t think that a person may be charged with a crime even though they were following the law.

A person's rights when police conduct a search

If an Iowa resident is suspected of committing a crime, police may search his or her home or seize property if it is evidence of that crime. However, there are limits to how far the government may go to collect this evidence. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says that only reasonable searches and seizures may be conducted. For instance, a search may generally not be conducted without probable cause.

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