Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Recent News, Search and Seizure, Warrant

Police Radars Can “See” into Homes

USA Today reports that new police radars can be used to, in effect, “see” through walls and into a person’s home by using radio waves to reveal human motion within a home. According to the story,

“At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance. . . .

They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.”

The law enforcement agencies have reportedly been using this technology for the past two years, without notice to the public or courts:

“Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.””

An infographic by USA Today demonstrates how the radar works:

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However, other versions of the radar reportedly have significantly more enhanced capabilities, such as “three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building” and “[o]ne is capable of being mounted on a drone.” This type of radar technology was initially designed as battlefield technology for use in Iran and Afghanistan. In fact, the Justice Department has reportedly funded research to continue the development of systems that can “map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them.”

This technology, which is not now new in light of recent reports, poses significant Constitutional issues. Police are not permitted to scan the inside of a home with a thermal camera without a warrant, and drug dog sniffs of the outside of homes have been limited by the Supreme Court. While it would seem that these radars would(or should) fall under the same Constitutional analysis, it appears that the Denver federal appeals court’s decision published last month (referenced above) was the first court decision referencing the radar technology or its Constitutional implications.

The full USA Today story can be found HERE.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Family law.

Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Recent News, Warrant

Unflattering Facebook Photo Leads to Arrest

Although not a Florida case, I thought it was worth posting:

A Columbus, Ohio woman was arrested last month after she observed her mugshot posted on the police department’s Facebook page and complained that she wanted it removed. Monica Hargrove’s picture had been posted on the Facebook account as part of the police department’s weekly roundup they refer to as “#WarrantWednesday.” Hargrove reportedly had an outstanding warrant for aggravated robbery and kidnapping. According to Denise Alex-Bouzounis, public information officer at the Columbus Police Department: Hargrove contacted the detective listed on the Facebook post and said, “‘Hey, I want my picture down,’ “[The detective] said, ‘Come on in and we’ll talk about it.'” Hargrove then went to the police station, where she was taken into custody.

Full story found on the Huffington Post, here: Facebook Mugshot Arrest

Anyone whose mugshot is posted on a police Facebook page should contact a criminal defense attorney before heading down to the police station. A criminal defense attorney could facilitate a turn-in and have a bondsman ready. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney will be able to help protect your rights and advise you not to make any statements that could be (and will be) used against you.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Probation, VOP

Florida VOP Arrests

Miley Cyrus made news this week when she brought an allegedly homeless man as her date to the MTV Video Music Awards.

Unfortunately, after the VMAs, research has revealed that the man has a troubled past, including warrants for his arrest and probation violations. One report reveals that the district attorney in Oregon filed a motion to revoke the man’s probation after he allegedly failed to report to his probation officer, used controlled substances, failed to submit to a urine test, and failed to complete his court ordered classes and community service hours.

In Florida, similar results will stem from a Florida probation violation. Florida Violations of Probation typically occur when someone has not timely completed the terms of their probation (such as community service hours), when someone fails to report to their probation officer when scheduled or when requested, when someone tests positive for a controlled substance during random alcohol and drug testing that is a term of their probation, or when someone is arrested for a new crime while they are already on probation.

Palm Beach County probation officers can have a person arrested in their office for a positive drug test. If the person stops reporting to the probation officer, the probation officer can request the judge to issue a warrant for that person’s arrest. Once arrested, the defendant could be held no bond, depending on the judge and the charge.

Florida VOPs will usually require either one or two hearings, depending on the reason for the violation. The court will ultimately have to determine if the reason for the alleged violation was substantive (such as being arrested for a new crime) or technical (such as a positive drug test or failure to report). The sentence for a violation of probation could be up to the maximum penalty under the original charge from which the probation stems.

A Florida criminal defense attorney can review a violation of probation case and determine the proper steps to be taken in defending the VOP. Sometimes, attorneys are able to file motions for in court surrender to avoid jail, or to negotiate with the state attorney to have the terms of probation reinstated. Each case is different. Anyone facing a probation violation in Florida should contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer.

 

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.