Tag: search and seizure

Evidence Suppressed Following Trash Rip Remand

Readers of the blog are no doubt aware of GRL Law’s work on warrantless garbage searches.  Earlier this summer, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the police practice unconstitutional in State v. Wright, but remanded the case to the district court for a second look at the warrant. This time the district court could not consider any of the evidence seized during the trash rips in determining probable cause. The result? The only information that survived the Supreme Court’s ruling was uncorroborated hearsay.  That information itself was months old. There was no choice but to invalidate the warrant.  That means all […]

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Two Drug Felonies Binned After Warrantless Trash Rip Ruled Unconstitutional

“Bin it” is a phrase used when asking someone to put something in the trash. GRL Law recently asked the district court to bin two drug felonies arising from a warrantless trash rip.  If you are regular reader of this blog, then you know we convinced the Iowa Supreme Court earlier to find this police tactic unconstitutional in State v. Wright.  We leveraged our work in Wright to challenge felony charges in another county.  The facts were nearly identical.  Police illegally trespassed onto our client’s garbage containers set out for collection to scavenge trash.  A search of this trash led […]

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Drug Charges Resulting from a Trash Rip Search Warrant? Call GRL Law

If you are facing drug charges arising from a trash rip search warrant, then you should call the drug defense attorneys at GRL Law. GRL Law pioneered the novel legal challenge to the admissibility of evidence seized from these search warrants in State v. Wright.  Police can no longer trespass onto your personal property to gather information.  Iowans also have a constitutionally recognized expectation of privacy in garbage set out for curbside collection. Many attorneys are simply unaware of these recent developments and may overlook the necessary pretrial challenges. Don’t plead guilty to any charges following a search warrant based on […]

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Murphy Presents on Search and Seizure to Floyd County Criminal Law Seminar

On May 14, 2021 Colin Murphy presented at the Floyd County Spring Criminal Law Seminar in Charles City. The presentation focused on developments in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.  In particular, Colin demonstrated how defense attorneys can apply trespass principles to prevail in seemingly unwinnable search and seizure cases.     GRL Law takes great pride in helping to educate both the bench and bar on emerging legal issues.  We think outside the box to deliver uncommon results.

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Seizure Notices from Customs and Border Protection

If you order a controlled substance from an overseas pharmacy without a valid prescription, then you risk having the package intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Code of Federal Regulations, particularly 21 C.F.R. sections 1312.11 and 1312.12, prohibits the importation of controlled substances without the express authorization of the DEA.  The unauthorized importation is subject to seizure and forfeiture under 19 U.S.C. section 1595a(c)(1)(B). You may simply receive a compliance notice in the mail that allows you to abandon the package and waive any claim for its return if it appears the amount is for personal use.  If […]

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Drug Charge Dismissed Following Successful Constructive Possession Defense

Webster City, Hamilton County, Iowa.  A traffic stop on I-35 led to the discovery of marijuana in a car trunk.  The trooper cited the driver for speeding, but charged the passenger with possession of marijuana. The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law have written before on the constructive possession defense.  This case presented yet another opportunity to raise it now on the passenger’s behalf. Because the trooper did not discover the marijuana in our client’s actual possession, the state needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she constructively possessed it.  That requires evidence that the passenger not only knew […]

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Challenging Vehicle Inventory Searches

The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law are known for aggressively challenging searches by police, particularly those arising from vehicle inventories.  Those searches occur after police impound a car following a traffic stop.  Before towing, police will inventory the contents to protect primarily against claims of lost or stolen property.  Police often locate drugs and paraphernalia during the course of the inventory and bring additional charges against the occupants. It should come as no surprise that police often abuse their authority to initiate inventory searches as a means to poke around the car without a warrant when they have no […]

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Can Police Frisk Me for Drugs?

The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law have seen their fair share of possession cases arising from police frisks. It usually goes down like this.  Following a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation, the officer orders the driver to come back to the patrol car to process a citation. Pro tip: You are seized by the officer and legally obligated to follow this instruction.  Don’t resist, or worse, assert your rights as a sovereign citizen.  You will be definitely arrested for interference and subjected to a full search of your person, clothing and accessories like a wallet, purse or […]

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The Constructive Possession Defense for Marijuana

The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law have seen it all when it comes to traffic stops involving cannabis.  This is especially true when police charge a driver with possession for weed located under a passenger’s seat.    Is there a defense for the driver? Absolutely! Because this marijuana is not actually found on the driver, the State must establish he constructively possessed it by proving he: Exercised dominion and control over it; Knew of its presence; and Knew it was a controlled substance. A driver’s close physical proximity to contraband is insufficient to constitute dominion and control.  The same […]

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Knowledge of Drug Residue Can Be Inferred from Evidence

In State v. Hummell, No. 19-1691 (Nov. 30, 2020), the Iowa Court of Appeals reminds the criminal defense bar that a defendant’s knowledge of contraband can be inferred from evidence. The facts are pretty straightforward.  Police seized a broken glass vial with a white powdery substance from Hummell’s pocket following his arrest.  Hummell claimed that he regularly picked up random items from the ground and pocketed them.  The residue later tested positive for methamphetamine. In order to support a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the State is required to prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: That the […]

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