News Roundup

Several grand juries have recently considered whether to charge white police officers with killing black men. We’ve already discussed the case in Ferguson, Missouri on this blog. Wednesday, a Staten Island, New York grand jury declined to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The New York Times has the story here. … Read more

News Roundup

My favorite story this week concerns the alleged criminal mastermind who was charged with trying to steal copper . . . “from a construction site where the Garner Police Department is building a new station.” WRAL has the story here. We’ll see if he cops a plea to copping the cops’ copper. In other news: … Read more

How Should the Police Respond to a Report of a Man with a Gun?

Case study: the Neenah stop. Recently in Neenah, WI, a woman called the police to report a man with a gun strapped to his back walking down the street. The call was placed to the non-emergency police number and the caller didn’t report that the man was doing anything threatening, but she did suggest that … Read more

News Roundup

What an interesting week! The sports world was fascinating, between a dramatic World Cup win for the United States, a Raleigh native being picked first in the NBA draft, and a Greensboro native winning the longest tennis match ever played. But the legal world was pretty interesting, too: 1. The United States Supreme Court decided … Read more

Can I Take a Look at Your Phone?

Inquisitive police officers regularly ask suspects questions like “Can I take a look at your phone?” or “Can I see your phone?” These on-the-street requests may give rise to legal questions in court. For example, if the suspect hands over the phone in response, does that provide consent for the officer to search the phone? … Read more

Court of Appeals Rules That Consent to Search Backpack, Given after Repeated Requests, Was Not Voluntary

Last month, the Court of Appeals ruled that police coerced a suspect into agreeing to let them search his backpack. Many of the traditional hallmarks of coercion, such as threatening language or the brandishing of weapons, were absent in this case, making it noteworthy for officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys alike. The case is State … Read more