Supreme Court Rulings - FindLaw Blotter
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Police can search a shared home without a warrant as long as an occupant who is present consents to the search, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 6-3 decision, the High Court affirmed that police don't need the permission of all occupants in a shared residence, as long as officers have the agreement of at least one resident who is physically present, The Associated Press reports.

Does this ruling in Fernandez v. California erode the protection against warrantless searches offered by the Fourth Amendment?

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement cannot obtain cell phone tracking information from wireless providers without a warrant.

In a unanimous decision issued Thursday, New Jersey's highest court demanded that police have a search warrant to procure sensitive cell phone data that will allow law enforcement to track an individual, reports The New York Times.

This decision is a slight change in tune from other federal rulings regarding cell phone data, but it might be a sign of a turning tide for privacy.

A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling limits the use of prior convictions under federal sentencing enhancements that give felons more prison time for having three or more prior convictions for certain crimes.

In Descamps v. U.S., defendant Matthew Descamps had been convicted of burglary in California in 1978, which the federal criminal court and Ninth Circuit had deemed as a "violent" felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

But the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Descamps' 15-year sentence enhancement under the ACCA, limiting how courts can view prior convictions.

Suspects who are not in custody, and thus not entitled to Miranda warnings, can have their silence used against them unless they expressly invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, the U.S. Supreme Court has held.

In a 5-4 decision handed down Monday, the Court in Salinas v. Texas determined that a suspect's silence after being asked a question during a voluntary police interview can be used against him during his criminal trial, reports the Associated Press.

Though Miranda shields defendants from the dangers of police interrogation, a suspect's protections are weaker when he is not in custody.

Police and law-enforcement officers can collect DNA samples from arrestees facing a "serious offense" without violating their Fourth Amendment rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The 5-4 decision in Maryland v. King overturned a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling which threw out a rape conviction and life sentence for Alonzo Jay King based on evidence collected from a post-arrest DNA swab, reports Reuters.

Is this case another erosion of arrestees' Fourth Amendment rights?

You can almost always refuse to answer police questions, but depending on the circumstances it may produce somewhat different legal results.

Here is a general breakdown of your legal options when questioned by the police in three common scenarios:

What is Harmless Error

When your case is before a court of law, you’ll hear many words tossed around.

Some words are more important than others. Some could mean that your case actually has potential to be overturned.

Other words just refer to a legal technicality.

What does “harmless error” mean?

High Court Rules on Drug Dogs, Police Detentions

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings Tuesday in separate cases involving police drug dogs and police detentions in relation to a search.

One ruling seems to give police more freedom to conduct searches using drug-sniffing dogs, while the other works to limit police and their ability to detain suspects when officers are conducting a search of their home.

Here's what you need to know:

Teen Murderers Can't Get Mandatory Life Without Parole

A mandatory sentence of life without parole for teen murder is not constitutional according to a Supreme Court ruling on Monday.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Court determined that mandatory sentencing schemes for homicide crimes are not applicable to juveniles tried for homicide. Mandatory sentences do not allow judges and juries sufficient discretion to consider youth as a factor in sentencing according to the majority opinion by Justice Elena Kagan.

The decision marks the third case in five years by the Court that deals with sentencing for juveniles.

Cops Need Warrant to Track You Via GPS

Is warrantless GPS tracking legal?

We asked this question back in November, and on Monday, we were given an official answer. Sort of.

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that secretly placing a GPS tracking device on a suspect's vehicle is a "search" under the 4th Amendment. And if police want to carry on this type of search for an extended period of time, it's advisable they get a warrant.