Category: Drug Possession

11th Circuit rules TANF drug testing unconstitutional, pt.2

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, December 18, 2014

In this case, Florida argued that they needed to test for drugs to prevent beneficiaries who were addicted to drugs to squander their TANF benefits on their drug habit. This would lead one to presume that there was a significant problem substance abuse with many TANF participants. This is because any time you add an additional administrative step to a process, you increase the cost of the program. When you add tests or audits to the process, you have to make certain they are examining the correct data and that the tests are valid. And, of course, you need to ensure that the audit or test does not cost more than your actual savings. If your audit procedure saves $100... Read More »

11th Circuit rules TANF drug testing unconstitutional

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, December 12, 2014

Sometimes government attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. This may be done to win political points. But when the attempt includes blanket searches of everyone involved, questions involving the Fourth Amendment are implicated. Florida has attempted to prevent people who use drugs to participate in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. They instituted a system of drug testing for anyone attempting to obtain these benefits. However, the State of Florida failed to show anything beyond a vague and generalized abstraction that people on the TANF program have substance abuse or drug problems and that it presents a specialized need that the courts require to allow an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. The state argued... Read More »

Police chase leads to Florida man facing drug charges

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Many individuals may not be immensely knowledgeable on how certain legal processes are carried out. Therefore, when a party is facing drug charges, he or she may not fully understand what type of situation they are about to be thrust into. By gathering information on the criminal proceedings relating to one’s circumstances, a party may be able to prepare more adequately for his or her case. A man in Florida may be hoping to find out more about his situation after having charges leveled against him. It was reported that the man was driving a vehicle when police attempted to stop the vehicle due to a license place discrepancy. However, the driver of the vehicle allegedly did not stop and... Read More »

Florida requires warrant for cell tower phone data, cont. Part 3

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, November 21, 2014

That is a very different notion than giving the police cellphone location data from a "stingray" that allows them to track an individual’s whereabouts 24/7 and would make most people slightly uneasy. The "stingray" device allows police to capture the communication signals from a cellphone and track it, and disturbingly, police have used the information and misled courts as to how they obtain it. By its ruling, the Florida Supreme Court has helped the cause of privacy rights by ruling that used of this tracking information real-time by police is a search that requires a warrant authorized by a judge. While only binding in Florida, it does provide clear guidance to other courts that may be faced with such a... Read More »

Florida requires warrant for cell tower phone data, cont. Part 2

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cellphones, being a new technology, have been involved in few Fourth Amendment cases, and therefore, there is little guidance as to how to interpret some of the new capabilities within the context of the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. Police, of course, would prefer to claim it is not an illegal search because it is metadata and not the contents of the call. However, this relies on the now very-dated construction of the type of information provided by this metadata.  The world of 1979 was a very different place. Mechanical switches still controlled most phone calls, and the process of obtaining information from them was laborious and had to be performed by phone company employees. And because calls could be made... Read More »

Florida Supreme Court requires warrant for cell tower phone data

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, November 7, 2014

Police have been using the metadata gleaned from cellphone tower interactions for years. And they have done it without a warrant. This issue, whether cellphone location data obtained from the telecoms requires a warrant had fallen through the cracks of Fourth Amendment law. Because it wasn’t an old fashioned phone tap, law enforcement attempted to treat it as if it was not a "search" and therefore outside the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that a GPS tracker attached by law enforcement to a vehicle was a search, but did not reach the issue of whether it was a search that required a warrant.  In a case from the Supreme Court of Florida last month,... Read More »

Traffic stops and criminal charges

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Saturday, November 1, 2014

You may have noticed when reading about criminal charges in news reports that they often include the seemingly mundane fact that the officer was speaking with the suspect during a traffic stop. Because they eventually were charged with a drug crime or some other criminal offense, you may forget about that part of the story. You should not. This is because the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures are somewhat lessened when it comes to vehicles, and because it is one of the principal situations where individuals interact with law enforcement.  Police can stop a driver upon "reasonable suspicion" of an offense, which typically takes the form of a traffic violation. Traffic violations are easily observed and an... Read More »