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Police Use of Surveillance Stingrays Requires a Warrant

It is unconstitutional for police to use Stingrays without a warrant. And yet, it happens more often than is ever discovered.

Last week, the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that any evidence obtained through the use of a Stingray device without a warrant is inadmissible, even if police used admissible technology to come up with almost the same information. This ruling should not have come as a surprise -- it is consistent with almost every court ruling of a Stingray device. But police still keep using them, often without warrants, hoping to get away with an unlawful search and seizure.

Sheriff's deputies and police officers have long been a presence in schools, in case things get out of hand. Recently, school administrators and resource officers have taken things a bit further, conducting so-called "scared straight" programs under which misbehaving students are exposed to jails or prisons as an effort to convince them to change their ways.

Beyond being ineffective and often backfiring, such tactics can be illegal or unconstitutional. Such was the case when a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy arrested seven middle school girls for being uncooperative during a bullying investigation to "prove a point" and "make (them) mature a lot faster."

The constant push and pull between privacy interests and law enforcement continues to play out in the products and services coming from the world's largest tech company. At the same time that Apple is working to make its iPhones more difficult for cops to unlock, the tech giant is also trying to make access to user data easier for law enforcement personnel.

According to a letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Apple will be unveiling a new portal for law enforcement to submit and track requests for user data related to investigations, along with training programs on accessing and deciphering digital evidence. The feature is expected to go live later this year.

Can Cops Use Taser on Children?

Recently, an off-duty Ohio police officer used a Taser on an eleven-year-old girl caught shoplifting in a grocery store late on a Monday evening. In that instance, police department had a policy that Tasers could be used on anyone seven and older, but only after certain protocols had been taken. That officer likely didn't follow proper protocol. But it brings up a good question: Can cops use Tasers on children?

Off-Duty Police Officer Mistakenly Enters Wrong Apartment, Fatally Shoots Occupant

In a horrific turn of events, a 30-year-old white female Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, fatally shot a 26-year-old black man, Bothan Shem Jean, in his apartment after mistaking it for her own apartment. The incident happened late in the evening of September 6, 2018. On September 9th, the Rangers arrested Guyger and charged her with manslaughter. She is currently out on $300,000 bail.

Traffic Cam Class Action Suit Continues in Iowa

In an interesting twist of civil procedure that is taking the country by storm, due process is being used to kick those nasty traffic cameras to the curb! Civil procedure professors are always so oddly excited about their specialty. Finally, a practical application of civil procedure for the Average Joe!

As many police officers will tell you, you don't just stop being a cop once you clock out. And when many officers clock out of their official police jobs, they clock in to other work, like security for sporting events, schools, and even oil pipelines. And their legal authority can get a little blurry when police are off-duty, whether they are on-duty for another gig or not.

And in the wake of some highly publicized shootings by off-duty police officers, many people are wondering whether cops can still carry guns, pull you over, or arrest you while they are off-duty. Here's a look.

Uber Driver Fatally Shot Man: 'Classic Stand Your Ground'

In a series of unfortunate events, Robert Westlake, an Uber driver, fatally shot a man that was stalking the customer in Westlake's car, whom he mistakenly believed was his ex-girlfriend. In the end, the stalker was dead, and Westlake carries the weight of survivor's guilt.

In what is being called a "classic stand your ground case," it appears no charges will be filed against Westlake. As the town sheriff said "This is a justifiable homicide all day long. You have the right to protect yourself. This was the intent of the law." Westlake's Uber app has been suspended, pending formal clearing by the police department.

Is It Illegal to Possess a Syringe?

The short answer is maybe, and it is incredibly complicated.

There is no federal law prohibiting the possession of syringes. It is all state law. About five states don't have drug paraphernalia (DP) laws, and about 10 exclude syringes from this list. That leaves about 30+ states that do have syringe laws. And this is where it gets complicated.

In a state that has DP laws, and a syringe is included as DP, is it always illegal to possess one? The answer is, it depends. If someone has a prescription for an injectable drug (ID), such as insulin, or for the syringe itself, it is not illegal. But what about those that don't? There are only two legal ways to possess a syringe in this case: from an exchange program or retail sale.

Even if you see what you think is a crime being committed, you don't always have to dial 911. In fact, there have been some infamous incidents lately of people dialing 911 for some bad reasons or for no reason at all.

And while calling the cops can get you in trouble in certain instances, one New York congressperson wants to make calling the police on innocent black people a hate crime. A week after a Trump supporter called the police on State Senator Jesse Hamilton while he was campaigning on the street, the lawmaker has proposed a bill that would strengthen laws that prohibit people from making false reports and criminalize 911 calls against people of color without evidence of wrongdoing.