Can the Police Search Me for No Reason?
The 4th Amendment to the U.S Constitution protects us all from the power of the police and the state by mandating that there are no unreasonable searches of our papers, property, and effects. Courts construing the Amendment routinely recite that any search conducted without a warrant is unreasonable, and therefore, unlawful.
The requirement of a warrant has been eaten away by exceptions over the years. Nevertheless, when property, later sought to be introduced as evidence against a defendant, has been found or taken in violation of constitutional principles, an effective criminal defense attorney may argue that the evidence should be 'suppressed' and not admitted against the accused. For example, the Maryland Court of Appeals handed down a decision some time ago that may prove important in the criminal defense strategy of anyone accused of CDS/drug possession or gun possession. In Henderson v. Maryland, Henderson's criminal defense attorney successfully argued that the listing of Henderson's name in a police alert database did not provide police officers with reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity, and did not give those officers authority to detain and search him. As they lacked the proper authority to search, the evidence could not be admitted against Henderson. Such arguments can be devastating to the State's case, as they may well find themselves without crucial evidence to offer against an accused.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 9/19/20.
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