In case it’s not perfectly clear…

July 1, 2014
GetAWarrantiPhone

Get a Warrant — for iPhone

I made this on my iPhone yesterday, and it currently serves as my lock screen.

Feel free to download and use it appropriately.

Tell your friends and share as much as you’d like. Get the word out there that police may not search your phone without your consent or a warrant, thanks to Riley v. California.

(Wikipedia here, SCOTUS opinion here, OYEZ project link here).

While you’re at it, turn off location services.

Edit: I had a colleague point out to me that the text is obscured by the unlock dots on some Android phones. An Android version is below the fold.

2nd Edit: Ken at Popehat requested a special custom version, which is also below the fold. Use at your own risk.
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Justice Thomas Cracks a “Joke”; the Real Joke’s On Us.

January 15, 2013

Justice Thomas Cracks a “Joke”; the Real Joke’s On Us.

Reading the newspapers yesterday you’d think it was a slow news day. But was it really?

Hardly.

While “journalists” chuckled over Justice Thomas’ incoherent ramblings about Yale, did anyone think to discuss the underlying case that SCOTUS was hearing?

Gideon of A Public Defender did. You should read his post right now. Here’s an excerpt:

You know what’s missing in every single one of these articles? A mention of Boyer. Who’s Boyer, you ask? Boyer, of Boyer v. Louisiana [SCOTUSBlog preview; oral argument transcript here]. Boyer, who sat in jail for 5 years facing the death penalty because the State could afford to only pay one of his lawyers – one that wasn’t qualified to represent him in a death penalty case. Boyer, in whose case witnesses died while he was waiting for the political football of indigent defense funding to stop getting punted around from endzone to endzone like it was a Browns vs. Cardinals game. Boyer, whose egregious delay the state of Louisiana seeks to shrug off as not really important and certainly not their fault.

***

You want a story? I’ll give you a story: this is the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. That the decision trumpeted the arrival of an era of equal justice for all, but that era has never materialized. That states still woefully underfund indigent defense; that access to justice isn’t equal and that people get screwed. Every. Single. Day. And it’s this Court – Thomas and others – who have the authority to change that, to alter that reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Today for all my clients; tomorrow, perhaps for you.

But no. Let’s continue to be cute and write funny stories about what an odd man that Justice Thomas is that he hasn’t asked a question in 6 years and well, was he making fun of Harvard or Yale? Because, really, who gives a fuck about Boyer, right? Stupid Constitution getting in the way, just like Thomas always said.

Priorities.

TL;DR: Thomas mumbles, internet creams itself, Boyer sits in jail, Gideon weeps.

Another step in the Honey Boo Boo-ification of our media. Anything for a joke, right?

Edit: Scott Greenfield beat me to it.


Supreme Court says lawyers must do competent job handling plea bargains. “Isn’t that obvious?” asks every competent defense attorney.

March 21, 2012

These law books are no substitute for zealous advocacy.

Supreme Court says lawyers must do competent job handling plea bargains. “Isn’t that obvious?” asks every competent defense attorney.

I am at once astounded and disgusted that this issue even had to go to SCOTUS.

“The decisions laid out by Kennedy means that criminal defense lawyers are now required to inform their clients of plea bargain offers, regardless of whether they think the client should accept them, and must give their clients good advice on whether to accept a plea bargain at all stages of prosecution. If they don’t, Kennedy said, they will run afoul of the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel during criminal proceedings. ‘The right to counsel is the right to effective assistance of counsel,’ Kennedy said.”

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Proposition 8 Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.

February 7, 2012

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

Los Angeles Times – Proposition 8 – Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.

Others will write much more eloquent posts examining the Court’s reasoning and whether there will be an appeal to the 9th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’ll just say this – awesome.

Full text of the opinion available here or here.

[UPDATE:] I’m only 10 pages in, and it’s good.


SCOTUS quote of the day – A tiny constable with incredible fortitude.

January 23, 2012
You can't tell a Constable by his size - he's just a teeny little super guy.

You can't tell a Constable by his size - he's just a teeny little super guy. With incredible fortitude.

But it is almost impossible to think of late 18th-century situations that are analogous to what took place in this case. (Is is possible to imagine a case in which a constable secreted himself somewhere in a coach and remained there for a period of time in order to monitor the movement’s of the coach’s owner? [FN 3])

[FN 3] The Court [it its majority opinion] suggests that something like this might have occurred in 1791, but this would have required either a gigantic coach, a very tiny constable, or both—not to mention a constable with incredible fortitude and patience.

-Justice Alito discussing Justice Scalia’s opinion in United States v. Jones, and the confluence of 18th century law, the Fourth Amendment, and GPS searching technology.

I love when a SCOTUS opinion brings home the laughs.


SCOTUS: Warrantless GPS Tracking a Search Under 4th Amendment.

January 23, 2012

You can buy this doormat at Target .com for $18.99. I did.

Today in SCOTUS news, an apparent victory for privacy advocates and those who’d prefer to protect our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizure.

As the AP reports:

The GPS device helped authorities link Washington, D.C., nightclub owner Antoine Jones to a suburban house used to stash money and drugs. He was sentenced to life in prison before the appeals court overturned the conviction.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that the government’s installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required.

“By attaching the device to the Jeep” that Jones was using, “officers encroached on a protected area,” Scalia wrote.

All nine justices agreed that the placement of the GPS on the Jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.…

Justice Samuel Alito also wrote a concurring opinion in which he said the court should have gone further and dealt with GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

From the little I’ve read about the ruling, it seems like the majority, under Scalia, drew a physical distinction whereas Alito drew a more theoretical line. I look forward to reading a gander at the full opinion.

It’s always a good day for me when the SCOTUS upholds our rights to be free from unreasonable state intrusion in an era when so much government is champing at the bit to take those rights away.

Read move over at NPR’s site and and listen to Nina Totenberg’s take on the matter.

Update [12.50]: Here’s a link to the Jones opinion.

Update [16.34]: Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has some thoughts about the case.

Update [18.34]: My former criminal procedure professor Donald Tibbs has some thoughts that were picked up by AP

The Supreme Court’s decision is an important one because it sends a message that technological advances cannot outpace the American Constitution…. The people will retain certain rights even when technology changes how the police are able to conduct their investigations.