It is October 1, and the U.S.Supreme Court is back in session after the summer break. Now if only Justice Thomas will ask a question during arguments. It is a full docket for the court on issues that effect criminal defense lawyers. Here is a brief list of the cases that might impact you in the future ;

  • Florida v. Jardines   In Jardines , the issue is whether the police violated the Constitution by using a trained drug dog to sniff at the threshold of a house where they suspected marijuana was being grown. Apparently, there was no hard evidence of marijuana being grown so they ran a drug dog around the outside of the house. So , is it a search if the drug dog was just around the house. The Florida Supreme Court ruled is was a constitutional violation.
  • Missouri v. McNeeley    In McNeeley , The issue is whether the police can take a blood sample of an accused DUI driver without a search warrant based upon exigent circumstances. Tennessee has a law on the books that allows a forced blood draw of those that have had a prior DUI conviction. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that since there was no accident to investigate and because there was plenty of time to get a warrant that the police needed to obtain a warrant.
  • Chaidez  v. United States , In Chaidez , the issue whether the ruling in Padilla applies to someone whose conviction became final before that ruling was announced. Padilla requires a criminal defense attorney to advise non-citizens that a guilty plea may carry the risk of deportation.
  • Ryan v. Gonzales  In Ryan , the issue is whether a defendant needs to be mentally capable in assisting his own attorney in challenging a death penalty conviction.

The Court has a full slate. The first two cases are important in the application of the Fourth Amendment. The power of the protection of the Fourth Amendment has waned over the last couple of terms of court. Are we going to allow the police to take bodily fluids without a search warrant then run drug dogs around our house.