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Supreme Court limits warrantless vehicle searches near homes

The Supreme Court is putting limits on the ability of police to search vehicles when they do not have a search warrant.

The court sided 8-1 Tuesday with a Virginia man who complained that police walked onto his driveway and pulled back a tarp covering his motorcycle, which turned out to be stolen. They acted without a warrant, relying on a line of Supreme Court cases generally allowing police to search a vehicle without a warrant.

The justices said the automobile exception does not apply when searching vehicles parked adjacent to a home.

The court ruled in the case of Ryan Collins, who was arrested at the home of his girlfriend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Collins had twice eluded police in high-speed chases in which he rode an orange and black motorcycle.

The authorities used Collins' Facebook page to eventually track the motorcycle to his girlfriend's home.

Collins argued that police improperly entered private property uninvited and without a warrant.

Virginia's Supreme Court said the case involved what the Supreme Court has called the "automobile exception," which generally allows police to search a vehicle without a warrant if they believe the vehicle contains contraband.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court Tuesday that the state court was wrong. Sotomayor said that constitutional protections for a person's home and the area surrounding it, the curtilage, outweigh the police interest in conducting a vehicle search without a warrant.

"We decline Virginia's invitation to extend the automobile exception to permit a warrantless intrusion on a home or its curtilage," Sotomayor wrote.

Collins is not out of the woods, however. A separate legal doctrine allows warrantless searches in "exigent circumstances," including whether the evidence — in this case, the motorcycle — might disappear if not looked for quickly. The justices ordered Virginia courts to consider that issue.

Justice Samuel Alito dissented, saying the police acted reasonably. "If the motorcycle had been parked at the curb, instead of in the driveway, it is undisputed that Rhodes could have searched it without obtaining a warrant," Alito said, referencing the officer who pulled back the tarp.

Justice Clarence Thomas voted with the majority, but he wrote separately to question whether the Supreme Court has the authority to require states to suppress incriminating evidence that was acquired in violation of the Constitution. Thomas said that telling states they must apply the so-called federal exclusionary rule "is legally dubious."

The case is Collins v. Virginia, 16-1027.

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  • After listening to Democrats for three straight days, President Donald Trump's lawyers started their rebuttal on Saturday in the President's Senate impeachment trial, accusing House prosecutors of ignoring evidence helpful to Mr. Trump, asking Senators to turn aside an effort to 'cancel an election.' 'You will find that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,' White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said to start the arguments in an unusual Saturday session of the Senate. 'Today, we are going to confront them on the merits of their argument,' Cipollone added, as the President's legal team accused the House of bending the facts, and ignoring evidence in favor of Mr. Trump. 'Let's get our facts straight,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'The House managers never told you any of this,' said White House lawyer Michael Purpura. 'Why not?' “Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game,” Cipollone said, as the President's team used just two of their 24 hours of arguments - they will continue on Monday afternoon. GOP Senators rushed to the microphones after Saturday's session to denounce what Democrats had presented earlier in the week. 'Within two hours, I thought the White House Counsel and their team entirely shredded the case which has been presented by the House managers,' said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). 'It completely undermined the case of the Democrats and truly undermined the credibility of Adam Schiff,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). 'It was pretty stark today,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who then used the famous quote from radio show host Paul Harvey to make the case for the President. 'Now you know the rest of the story,' Lankford told reporters. 'This was a good day for America frankly,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). 'I don't believe anything they have said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) of the House case, as there continues to be no public evidence that any GOP Senators are ready to break with President Trump. Playing out behind the scenes was the ongoing partisan tussle over whether current and former Trump Administration officials - whose testimony has been blocked during the impeachment investigation by President Trump - should be issued subpoenas by the U.S. Senate. 'I don't know how you have a trial when you know there is evidence that you haven't seen, or witnesses you haven't heard from that have first hand knowledge,' said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). 'A fair trial means witnesses and documents,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. The trial resumes at 1 pm ET on Monday.
  • Democrats concluded their 24 hours of opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with a blistering assessment of his effort to get Ukraine to announce investigations which would politically benefit him, as Democrats pleaded with GOP Senators to subpoena documents and witnesses blocked by the President. 'I implore you, give America a fair trial,' Schiff said. 'She's worth it.' In a final summary of the House impeachment arguments, Schiff said the President had clearly stepped over the line by trying to get Ukraine to start an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. 'President Trump has abused the power of his office, and must be removed,' said lead House prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). 'Our founders worried about a situation just like this,' Schiff added, arguing the House charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress have 'been proved.' For Republicans, the third straight day of arguments by House prosecutors was like hundreds of fingernails on a Senate blackboard, as they all but accused Schiff of making up a story about President Trump. “It's kind of a story of the entire three days, of this invented story, weaving through bits of facts, but all this fiction weaved in it,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), as he told reporters that Schiff's final speech was 'insulting to everybody.' 'I don't anything they've said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who earlier in the day told reporters that he thought the arguments of Rep. Schiff were 'horrible.' 'They shouldn't need anymore information to make a final decision,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who made clear the GOP leadership position that Republicans should not vote for extra documents or witnesses, worried it will drag out the trial well into February. With the White House legal team ready to start arguments on Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - who said he had been in touch with the President just yesterday - said there was no reason to ignore the story of Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden. 'The President is frustrated and I am frustrated that we live in a country where only one side gets looked at,' Graham told reporters, as he accused the news media for a second straight day of carrying the water for Democrats in this impeachment fight, and hinted he would start his own investigation. The end of the House prosecutors arguments set the stage for the White House to begin its defense of President Trump, which is set to begin at 10 am ET on Saturday, and last for about three hours. Schiff tried to preempt some of the expected arguments. 'If they couldn't get Ukraine to smear the Bidens, they want to use this trial to do it instead,' Schiff said about anticipated talk from the President's lawyers about investigating Hunter Biden. If the Senate refuses to call witnesses next week, then the President's impeachment trial could conclude by the end of January, or the first days of February.
  • A 12-inch gas line near 11th & Mingo broke Friday afternoon, creating a mess for repair crews and drivers in the area. Both the eastbound and westbound lanes were closed at 11th St. PSO cut power in the area surrounding the break.  Leaders at Oklahoma Natural Gas say the line was hit.
  • They are circling each other like wary boxers, with taunts on Twitter, snarky asides and belittling descriptions. They rose to prominence in Manhattan on parallel tracks, amassed wealth real and perceived and displayed a penchant for putting their names on things. That’s where the similarities end. President Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg could hardly be more different as people, but now they both want the same job: Trump’s. Bloomberg is making the case that he is many things that Trump is not: a builder of a financial data and media company that employs 20,000 people, a billionaire whose worth Forbes estimates at $60 billion, a problem-solver with a steady temperament who was elected three times as mayor of the nation’s largest city, one of the world’s leading philanthropists. “Bloomberg is someone Trump would have liked to have been: to have invented something everyone uses, to have real wealth, to be seen as a creative person. Trump had to create an image for himself,” said George Arzt, onetime press secretary to former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Arzt knows both men professionally and personally. He said Bloomberg is someone who likes to solve problems, who likes to be hands-on, even including the design of new Department of Sanitation trucks, while Trump is “basically a showman.” Arzt added that Trump always sought the limelight while Bloomberg shied away from it until he ran for mayor.
  • Thrilling thousands of abortion opponents at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump again emphasized his support for their cause, as he became the first President to travel the few blocks from the White House to appear in person at the march. 'Today, as President of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you,' Mr. Trump said, as his speech was received with loud cheers, and chants of 'four more years' from some in the crowd. 'As the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made,' as the President repeatedly emphasized his pro-life stance, endearing him to more conservative and religious voters who have become a bedrock of his political support. 'We must protect, cherish, and defend the sanctity of every human life,' he added. While past Republican Presidents had always expressed their support for the March for Life, none had trekked the couple of blocks from the White House to appear in person. 'It is my profound honor to be the first President in history to attend the March for Life,' Mr. Trump said to loud cheers, 47 years after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion with the Roe v. Wade decision. 'I notified Congress that I would veto any legislation that weakens pro-life policies or that encourages the destruction of human life,' Mr. Trump said, as he also again expressed his opposition to late-term abortions. The President also spoke about conservative judges who have been approved for the federal bench during his time in office, also citing his two Supreme Court picks, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Even though he could easily see the Capitol from the rally, the President made no mention of his Senate impeachment trial, as the gathering brought together a number of GOP lawmakers for the march.

Washington Insider

  • After listening to Democrats for three straight days, President Donald Trump's lawyers started their rebuttal on Saturday in the President's Senate impeachment trial, accusing House prosecutors of ignoring evidence helpful to Mr. Trump, asking Senators to turn aside an effort to 'cancel an election.' 'You will find that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,' White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said to start the arguments in an unusual Saturday session of the Senate. 'Today, we are going to confront them on the merits of their argument,' Cipollone added, as the President's legal team accused the House of bending the facts, and ignoring evidence in favor of Mr. Trump. 'Let's get our facts straight,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'The House managers never told you any of this,' said White House lawyer Michael Purpura. 'Why not?' “Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game,” Cipollone said, as the President's team used just two of their 24 hours of arguments - they will continue on Monday afternoon. GOP Senators rushed to the microphones after Saturday's session to denounce what Democrats had presented earlier in the week. 'Within two hours, I thought the White House Counsel and their team entirely shredded the case which has been presented by the House managers,' said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). 'It completely undermined the case of the Democrats and truly undermined the credibility of Adam Schiff,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). 'It was pretty stark today,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who then used the famous quote from radio show host Paul Harvey to make the case for the President. 'Now you know the rest of the story,' Lankford told reporters. 'This was a good day for America frankly,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). 'I don't believe anything they have said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) of the House case, as there continues to be no public evidence that any GOP Senators are ready to break with President Trump. Playing out behind the scenes was the ongoing partisan tussle over whether current and former Trump Administration officials - whose testimony has been blocked during the impeachment investigation by President Trump - should be issued subpoenas by the U.S. Senate. 'I don't know how you have a trial when you know there is evidence that you haven't seen, or witnesses you haven't heard from that have first hand knowledge,' said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). 'A fair trial means witnesses and documents,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. The trial resumes at 1 pm ET on Monday.
  • Democrats concluded their 24 hours of opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with a blistering assessment of his effort to get Ukraine to announce investigations which would politically benefit him, as Democrats pleaded with GOP Senators to subpoena documents and witnesses blocked by the President. 'I implore you, give America a fair trial,' Schiff said. 'She's worth it.' In a final summary of the House impeachment arguments, Schiff said the President had clearly stepped over the line by trying to get Ukraine to start an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. 'President Trump has abused the power of his office, and must be removed,' said lead House prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). 'Our founders worried about a situation just like this,' Schiff added, arguing the House charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress have 'been proved.' For Republicans, the third straight day of arguments by House prosecutors was like hundreds of fingernails on a Senate blackboard, as they all but accused Schiff of making up a story about President Trump. “It's kind of a story of the entire three days, of this invented story, weaving through bits of facts, but all this fiction weaved in it,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), as he told reporters that Schiff's final speech was 'insulting to everybody.' 'I don't anything they've said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who earlier in the day told reporters that he thought the arguments of Rep. Schiff were 'horrible.' 'They shouldn't need anymore information to make a final decision,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who made clear the GOP leadership position that Republicans should not vote for extra documents or witnesses, worried it will drag out the trial well into February. With the White House legal team ready to start arguments on Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - who said he had been in touch with the President just yesterday - said there was no reason to ignore the story of Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden. 'The President is frustrated and I am frustrated that we live in a country where only one side gets looked at,' Graham told reporters, as he accused the news media for a second straight day of carrying the water for Democrats in this impeachment fight, and hinted he would start his own investigation. The end of the House prosecutors arguments set the stage for the White House to begin its defense of President Trump, which is set to begin at 10 am ET on Saturday, and last for about three hours. Schiff tried to preempt some of the expected arguments. 'If they couldn't get Ukraine to smear the Bidens, they want to use this trial to do it instead,' Schiff said about anticipated talk from the President's lawyers about investigating Hunter Biden. If the Senate refuses to call witnesses next week, then the President's impeachment trial could conclude by the end of January, or the first days of February.
  • Thrilling thousands of abortion opponents at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump again emphasized his support for their cause, as he became the first President to travel the few blocks from the White House to appear in person at the march. 'Today, as President of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you,' Mr. Trump said, as his speech was received with loud cheers, and chants of 'four more years' from some in the crowd. 'As the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made,' as the President repeatedly emphasized his pro-life stance, endearing him to more conservative and religious voters who have become a bedrock of his political support. 'We must protect, cherish, and defend the sanctity of every human life,' he added. While past Republican Presidents had always expressed their support for the March for Life, none had trekked the couple of blocks from the White House to appear in person. 'It is my profound honor to be the first President in history to attend the March for Life,' Mr. Trump said to loud cheers, 47 years after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion with the Roe v. Wade decision. 'I notified Congress that I would veto any legislation that weakens pro-life policies or that encourages the destruction of human life,' Mr. Trump said, as he also again expressed his opposition to late-term abortions. The President also spoke about conservative judges who have been approved for the federal bench during his time in office, also citing his two Supreme Court picks, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Even though he could easily see the Capitol from the rally, the President made no mention of his Senate impeachment trial, as the gathering brought together a number of GOP lawmakers for the march.
  • Republican Senators expressed growing frustration on Thursday with the arguments of U.S. House prosecutors against President Donald Trump, as Democrats accused the President of trying to use the government of Ukraine to help his 2020 re-election campaign by launching investigations linked to former Vice President Joe Biden and a 2016 election conspiracy theory involving Ukraine. 'It's the same story, the same videos,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), as GOP grumbling grew about the trial. 'Apparently we're going to hear it all day again, same things over again.' 'It seems like Groundhog Day in the Senate,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). 'It is the same thing, day after day after day.' On the Senate floor, Democrats spent a second day diving into great detail about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, accusing him of trying to get a foreign country to meddle in U.S. elections. The second day wrapped up with an impassioned speech by lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who implored GOP Senators to acknowledge that the President does not have the interests of the nation in mind. “You know you can't count on him; none of us can,” Schiff said. “You know you can't trust this President to do what's right for this country,” Schiff added. “You can trust he'll do what's right for Donald Trump.” In their second day of arguments, Democrats focused entirely on the abuse of power charge against the President, as Schiff led the House impeachment managers in laying out the case. 'It's improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen, and a political opponent,' Schiff said, referring to former Vice President Biden. Schiff also mocked the President for embracing the 'Crowdstrike' conspiracy theory, noting that Mr. Trump asked the leader of Ukraine to see if the email server of the Democratic National Committee - which was hacked by Russian intelligence in 2016 - was now being hidden inside Ukraine. 'This completely bogus, Kremlin-pushed, conspiracy theory,' Schiff said. 'So when President Trump asks for a favor,' said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), 'the only priority was President Trump's corrupt demand for phony investigations.' 'This is corruption and abuse of power in its purest form,' Jeffries added on Thursday night. In their arguments, Schiff and other managers repeatedly indicated to Senators how the Trump Administration had blocked requests for witnesses and documents, as Democrats still hope to find four Republicans who would vote for witness testimony by Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, and others. But there was no real evidence that GOP opposition to witness testimony was going to crack, as Senate GOP leaders have warned any effort to subpoena witnesses could create a messy court battle with the White House which could take months to resolve. 'I want to end this thing sooner, rather than later,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said he was not interested in extra witnesses sought by Democrats. Democrats will finish their arguments on Friday with a focus on the obstruction of Congress charge, as they continue to detail the numerous ways the White House defied supoenas from House impeachment investigators. The President's legal team has been sitting silent on the Senate floor - they are expected to start their defense of Mr. Trump on Saturday.
  • While Republican Senators continue to wave off the case presented by House Democrats in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, the GOP is expressing concern that the impeachment battle may have a negative impact on a group of Senators who are already in tough re-election battles in 2020. 'The entire process is not to remove the President from office, it's simply to remove certain Republican Senators,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), as he rattled off a series of states where polls show incumbent Republicans with struggling poll ratings. 'Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, Maine, and Arizona - this is absolutely an opportunity for them to over take the Senate,' Scott told reporters during a break in the Trump impeachment trial. Polling shows that GOP Senators from three of those states - Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona - have some of the worst approval/disapproval ratings in the country. Two others, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina are also facing concerted attacks from Democratic Party groups, hoping to unseat them in November. Back in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) - already in hot water for her decision to support Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh - is now seeing a prime Democratic rival, Maine House Speaker Sarah Gideon, zeroing in on her votes in the Trump impeachment trial. While Collins is facing tough votes in the Trump trial, Gideon has been back in Maine firing away at the Maine Republican. “Senator Collins voted with Mitch McConnell to block witnesses and evidence from the impeachment trial,” Gideon said. 'She (Collins) has proven that she has won tough races in the past, but this will be her most difficult re-election,' said Nathan Gonzales, an elections analyst with Roll Call, told C-SPAN earlier this week. Also getting involved in some of these races is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is funneling some of ad money into Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Maine.