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U.S. Supreme Court Updates

First Quarter 2013
January 9, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. United States, that a defendant charged with criminal conspiracy bears the initial burden of proving a defense of withdrawal from the conspiracy. Moreover, because withdrawal does not negate an element of the offense, but requires that the defendant initially committed the offense, the government does not have a duty to overcome the defense by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
February 19, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Florida v. Harris, on February 19, 2013, that to demonstrate a drug detection dog’s reliability, the government is held to a “common sense/prudent person” standard of proof. The Supreme Court rejected Florida’s requirement that the government must produce the dog’s training and certification records along with a checklist of evidence regarding the dog’s reliability. Although the Supreme Court refused to impose an inflexible evidentiary requirement of proof, Justice Kagan opined that the government can introduce evidence of a dog’s reliability and the defense can challenge the government’s proof. a reasonable doubt.
February 19, 2013

In Bailey v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held on February 19, 2013, that its earlier opinion in Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981) (authorizing officers to detain occupants while a search is conducted without the need for suspicion) does not permit officers to detain persons not within the premises or within its immediate vicinity. Thus, when an individual who left the building prior to execution of the search warrant was stopped and detained a mile away from the premises, it was an unlawful detention.
February 20, 2013

In Chaidez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court refused on February 20, 2013, to extend the Sixth Amendment protections of its earlier decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, (holding that the defense attorneys are required to inform defendants of the risk of deportation upon conviction) by ruling that Padilla does not apply retroactively to cases on direct review.
February 20, 2013

In a Michigan case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on February 20, 2013, in Evans v. Michigan, that double jeopardy bars retrial when the trial court directed a verdict of acquittal based upon an error of law regarding the required elements of the offense.
March 26, 2013

Reversing the Florida Supreme Court on March 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Fourth Amendment case of Florida v. Jardines, that the government’s use of trained police dogs to investigate a home and its immediate surroundings is a “search”. Thus, bringing a dog onto the front porch to conduct a sniff test is the equivalent of a trespass at common law, making it a search subject to the limitations of the Fourth Amendment.

Disclaimer: This website is for general informational purposes only. Information or statements made herein should not be construed or relied upon to be formal legal advice. Use of the information contained on this site does not form a lawyer-client relationship. All materials on this site copyright 2012, Daniel Myshin.