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Description: Miami, Florida criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with felony possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in violation of "18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence found in a vehicle in which he was setting.
The Supreme Court has made clear the Fourth Amendment protects “the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable government intrusion.” Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505, 511 (1961). While the Supreme Court has determined that warrantless searches and seizures in one's home are presumptively unreasonable, Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980), “the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless arrests in public places where an officer has probable cause to believe that a felony has occurred.”
United States v. Goddard, 312 F.3d 1360, 1362 (11th Cir. 2002). Furthermore, the curtilage, “the area ‘immediately surrounding and associated with the home,'” is itself “‘part of the home . . . for Fourth Amendment purposes'” and is a constitutionally protected area. Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. 1, 6 (2013) (quoting Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 180 (1983)). The Eleventh Circuit has traditionally relied on four factors set forth in United States v. Dunn, 480 U.S. 294, 301 (1987), to determine the outer limits of a home's curtilage in the context of a warrantless search and seizure.
Questions about whether an area is curtilage ‘should be resolved with particular reference to four factors: the proximity of the area claimed to be curtilage to the home, whether the area is included within an enclosure surrounding the home, the nature of the uses to which the area is put, and the steps taken by the resident to protect the area from observation by people passing by.'
United States v. Stephen, 823 Fed.Appx. 751, 754 (11th Cir. 2020) (quoting Dunn, 480 U.S. at 301). These four Dunn “factors are useful analytical tools only to the degree that, in any given case, they bear upon the centrally relevant consideration-whether the area in question is so intimately tied to the house itself that it should be placed under the home's ‘umbrella' of Fourth Amendment protection.” Dunn, 480 U.S. at 301.
Warrantless searches “are per se unreasonable . . . subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967). However, since the custodial “arrest of a suspect based on probable cause is a reasonable intrusion under the Fourth Amendment . . . a search incident to the arrest requires no additional justification.” United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 235 (1973). “[A] search incident to arrest may only include the arrestee's person and the area within his immediate control.” Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 339 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Applying only to “the area from within which [an arrestee] might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.”
Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 763 (1969). However, “circumstances unique to the automobile context justify a search incident to arrest when it is reasonable to believe that evidence of the offense of arrest might be found” in a vehicle recently occupied by the arrestee. Gant, 395 U.S. at 335.
Outcome: Motion denied.