Kansas v. Ventris and the Sixth Amendment

The Supreme Court’s latest criminal law decision is Kansas v. Ventris, available here.  The basic holding is that a statement obtained in violation of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel may be admitted for impeachment purposes, so long as the statement was voluntary. In brief, the defendant in Ventris was charged with murder and … Read more

I Gant Believe I’m Posting about This Case Again!

OK, one more post about Arizona v. Gant, which I’ve previously discussed here and here. First, School of Government faculty member Bob Farb has written a short paper about Gant that summarizes the decision and its consequences.  You can find the paper here. Second, I’ve been pondering one possible implication of Gant that I haven’t … Read more

Gant, “Retroactivity,” and Retroactivity

The fallout from the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Arizona v. Gant, see my initial post here, has been fast and furious.  Most questions I’ve received have been about how it applies to existing and past cases, not to future searches.  Here are a couple of common questions and answers. 1. Does Gant apply to … Read more

Arizona v. Gant and Searches Incident to Arrest

The Supreme Court decided Arizona v. Gant yesterday. The opinion is available here, and a news article about the case is here. It’s a pretty significant Fourth Amendment case, so let’s unpack it a little bit, and please excuse the long post. When an officer lawfully arrests a suspect, the officer may search the suspect … Read more

Field Sobriety Tests During Traffic Stops

Several recent inquiries have been variants of the following question: can an officer administer field sobriety tests during a routine traffic stop? In other words, if an officer has reasonable suspicion that a driver has committed a traffic violation, and has a hunch, not rising to the level of reasonable suspicion, that the driver is … Read more

Lineups, Showups, Undercover Buys, and G.S. 15A-284.52

In 2007, the General Assembly enacted the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act, G.S. 15A-284.50 et seq.  The heart of the Act is G.S. 15A-284.52, which lays out rules for conducting lineups, whether live, i.e., involving the actual suspect and several other fillers, or by photo array, i.e., involving a picture of the suspect and several other … Read more

Knowing and Voluntary Miranda Waivers

The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, recently decided a very interesting Miranda case. Garner v. Mitchell, available here, is a capital case.  The defendant stole a woman’s purse, took a taxi to her house, robbed it, and set it on fire to conceal his fingerprints, killing five of the six children who were sleeping in … Read more