Recent Blog Posts

Missouri v. McNeely – The Decision

Missouri v. McNeely – The Decision

As most have heard, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Missouri v. McNeely on April 17, 2013. As expected, the Court rejected the State of Missouri’s request for a per se rule of exigency in all cases of suspected driving under the influence, which would have allowed officers to obtain blood tests from suspected intoxicated drivers without a warrant. The Court confirmed that the exigency of such a...

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U.S. Supreme Court Watch – Warrantless Blood Draws

U.S. Supreme Court Watch – Warrantless Blood Draws

On January 9, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Missouri v. McNeely, a case in which a police officer ordered blood to be drawn from an individual suspected of drunk driving. The officer ordered the blood draw without a warrant after McNeely refused a breath test. The issue before the United States Supreme Court is whether the nature of blood alcohol evidence, specifically the inevitable but gradual destruction of...

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Purging the Taint from a Confession

Purging the Taint from a Confession

When evidence is obtained in violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, the exclusionary rule has traditionally barred from trial both physical and verbal evidence stemming from the violation, including confessions that result from an illegal arrest. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 485 (1963). However, courts also recognize that individuals may decide to confess as an act of free will, unaffected by any initial...

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Good Faith Exception to the Exclusionary Rule

Good Faith Exception to the Exclusionary Rule

As noted previously, the Fourth Amendment protects the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.  U.S. Const. Amend. IV.  Ordinarily, evidence obtained in violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights cannot be used in a criminal case against that individual. See United States v. Riesselman, 646 F.3d 1072, 1078 (8th Cir. 2011).  However, there are some...

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Past Conduct of Victims of Certain Crimes

Past Conduct of Victims of Certain Crimes

Evidence of the past sexual conduct of a victim of alleged criminal sexual conduct is admissible in very limited circumstances.  Minnesota Rule of Evidence 412 and Minnesota Statute § 609.347 are the result of many years of debate and analysis regarding the appropriate use of this type of evidence. The Rule and the statute continue to use slightly different language and clauses, and some uncertainty remains as to which should control...

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