When it comes to the American criminal justice system, rules and procedure matter a great deal. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and evidence obtained improperly or illegally by law enforcement cannot be used against defendants in court.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled that certain individuals may be tracked via GPS without their knowledge. The court's holding was related to a case involving suspected burglary. In this case, a man who was suspected of multiple burglaries was subject to having his car impounded. Once impounded, law enforcement installed a GPS in the vehicle without his knowledge.
We have written many times in the past about the importance of Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Without the protective requirement to establish probable cause, police could search any person for any reason and file criminal charges based on what they found.
If you are a Wisconsin resident with a car registered here, you will be issued a license plate for the front and back of your vehicle and the law requires that you display both of them. Not every state has this same requirement.
We have previously written that search warrants play a very important role in protecting the rights of criminal suspects. Before police can search a home for evidence of drug crimes or other illegal activity, they must convince a judge that there is probable cause for such a search.
This week, our posts are focusing on challenging DUI charges and convictions. Specifically, we're looking at two DUI convictions that were recently overturned after appeals courts determined that the arresting officers did not have probable cause to pull over the defendants.
For a drunk driving charge to be legitimate, police need to prove that they followed proper procedure. For instance, defense attorneys may try to challenge how a field sobriety test was administered. And at the heart of any DUI conviction is this question: did the officer have probable cause to pull over the suspect?
Last week, we wrote about the Wisconsin man who was convicted of DUI despite the fact that he was never pulled over and no one even saw him driving. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the ruling based solely on evidence from an electronic monitoring device the man was wearing.
In January, we wrote a post which gave a brief lesson on search and seizure laws. Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, Americans are protected against illegal search and seizure by police and law enforcement.
Everyone has heard terms like "search warrant" and "probable cause" when hearing about collection of evidence. But unless you have studied the law you may not be clear on what these terms mean. Today I'd like to offer a few brief explanations about the laws to help everyone understand them better. Then I'd like to share a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling which relates to these laws.