Cox & Mazzoli


U.S. Supreme Court Throws out Conviction

U.S. Supreme Court Throws out Conviction

The Supreme Court on May 29th reversed the Virginia Supreme Court and held that a search was unconstitutional and the fruits of the search would be suppressed.

A police officer searching for a stolen motorcycle saw pictures on the defendant's Facebook page of a motorcycle that matched the description of the stolen property.  The officer learned where the defendant lived and went on to his property, without a warrant, and looked under a tarp in the driveway.  The motorcycle covered by the tarp was the stolen bike.  The officer returned to his vehicle to wait for the defendant and when he returned the officer arrested him.

The government argued that the automobile exception made the search lawful and the Virginia Supreme Court agreed.  The U.S. Supreme Court reversed relying on the sanctity of a home's curtilage.  The curtilage is the property immediately surrounding the outside of a home or residence.  The Court reaffirmed that a warrantless search of the curtilage is presumptively unreasonable absent a warrant.

This is a tremendous new case for all Americans and their right to privacy. It reaffirms that a private home (and its curtilage) require a search warrant in almost all instances before police can invade a person's privacy.


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