Cars Parked in Driveways Entitled to Privacy Protections, Says US Supreme Court

From the L.A. Times:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the Constitution’s privacy protection to include vehicles that are parked on a home’s driveway or carport, ruling that police need a search warrant before they may inspect them.

In general, police may look closely at cars that are parked along public roads, without the need for a search warrant.

But in Tuesday’s 8-1 ruling, the justices said a vehicle parked in a carport or on private property adjacent to a home deserves the privacy protection of the 4th Amendment.

“When a law enforcement officer physically intrudes” on private property and walks up to a house to look for evidence, “a search within the meaning of the 4th Amendment has occurred,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Collins vs. Virginia. “Such conduct thus is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.”

Tuesday’s ruling closely tracks a decision in 2013 when the court ruled that police may not bring a drug-sniffing dog to the front porch of a home without a search warrant. In both instances, the justices said the 4th Amendment gives its greatest protection for homes and the private property surrounding them.

The court ruled in favor of Ryan Collins, a Virginia man who was convicted of stealing a motorcycle. Two officers in Albemarle County were in search of a distinctive orange-and-black-colored cycle they had seen speeding. After doing some research on Facebook, they saw Collins had posted a photograph of the cycle.

One officer stopped at the house where Collins was living and saw from the street what looked to be a motorcycle under a tarp. It was next to the house. The officer walked up the driveway, lifted the tarp and took several photos of the cycle. Collins was arrested and convicted.

The Virginia courts rejected his claim that the search was unconstitutional, citing the automobile exception to the 4th Amendment. In defending the conviction, the state’s lawyers agreed an officer may not enter a closed garage, but they argued there was no such bar on checking a vehicle in plain sight on the property.

The Supreme Court disagreed with both the state’s courts, and the state’s fallback legal position about plain sight.

Downstate Judge Who Wore a Wire to Expose Corruption in Chicago Traffic Court has died

Brocton Lockwood, a downstate Illinois Judge, who is remembered as the Judge who wore a wire to expose corruption in the Chicago Traffic Court, has passed away.

Judge Lockwood was one of several downstate Judges who were sent to Chicago to do a rotation in the First Municipal Division, due to a shortage of Judges.  He was shocked to see the widespread corruption that was then rampant.  Working with the FBI, he took over the other downstate Judges’ rotation spots and spent three years in Chicago, mostly working at the Traffic Court then located at 321 N. LaSalle Street.  He befriended, to the extent an outsider could, Sheriffs, Clerks and Judges to get inside information and to keep track of suspicious cases.

He published a book entitled “Operation Greylord:  Brocton Lockwood’s story”  which is out of print but used copies can be found on Amazon, ebay and used bookstores.  I got a copy a couple of years ago.  It is not very long, and because he was only a small part of the Operation Greylord story, you won’t get details about, say, corruption in the divorce courts like you will in James Tuohy and Rob Warden’s book Greylord, but it has lots of small details about the workings of First Municipal and especially Traffic Court in the early 80s.  Its most compelling aspect is how it puts in you in Judge Lockwood’s mindset as he became an undercover operative, risking his life, and always worried about what would happen if his cover was blown.

I have to admit that I am bit uncomfortable about the idea of wearing a wire and befriending people in order to betray them, even if these people were committing criminal acts and perverting our justice system.  Yet, as an attorney who obtained his law license shortly after the Greylord scandal was revealed, I am thankful for work of Judge Lockwood’ (and all the others involved) in cleaning up our courts.  In my 24 years of practice, I am not aware of any bribery or other corruption going on in our judicial system.  So thank you, Judge Lockwood.

“Little Women” Reality Show Star pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash


From ABC 8 news:

A former reality star has pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in a DUI crash that killed a Coast Guardsman in November of 2017.

Virginia State Police say Melissa Hancock was driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on I-264 when she hit a Mazda head-on.

The driver of the Mazda, 29-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Dill, of Suffolk, died at the hospital.



…Court records show Hancock’s preliminary breath test yielded a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than double the legal limit of 0.08. Hancock reportedly told state police she had two to four mixed drinks at Peabody’s about an hour before the crash.


…Hancock, a former reality star who was on the show “Little Women, Atlanta,” faces 21 years behind bars.  She will be sentenced October 10.

Mac Miller charged with DUI, leaving scene of accident

From TMZ:

Mac Miller blew nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested last Thursday for DUI, and that was well after he fled his crash scene.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Mac’s BAC was .15 when cops arrested him at his home. Mac drove his white G-Wagon into a utility pole and the impact was bad enough to cause the airbags to deploy. Mac and two other passengers miraculously managed to flee on foot, but cops eventually ran his plates and arrested him for DUI and hit and run at his home after he confessed.

Woman arrested for DUI two times in three hours

From the Patch:

ELMHURST, IL — A Villa Park woman was arrested twice in one night on May 18, both times for DUI, according to Elmhurst Police reports. Brenda Rivera, 28, was first arrested at 1:39 a.m. at North and Route 83.

According to reports, officers stopped Rivera for improper lane use, and then it was found she was drunk driving. She was charged with DUI, improper lane use and was released on her bond. Her car was also towed.

Then, at 3:40 a.m., officers again arrested Rivera at North and Myrtle, according to reports. Officers had stopped her for speeding and improper lane use, and was still under the influence of alcohol.

After being released from custody the first time, Rivera had borrowed a car since her own car was towed, according to reports.

Rivera was charged under State of Illinois charges with DUI, violation of bail bond, improper lane use and speeding. She was then taken to DuPage County Jail.

Assuming that the first arrest was the first ever arrest for Ms. Rivera, and that her driver’s license was valid, then both of these cases would be misdemeanors.

This type of thing used to happen more often before police began impounding vehicles after a DUI arrest.  Also, nowadays, most towns hold a suspect for several hours before releasing them.  Neither of these things happened when I first began to practice DUI defense.  Back then, it was not unusual for a person to get his or her car keys back when he or she bonded out, and be able to drive home.

Hinsdale Police Planning Extra DUI and Seat Belt Enforcements for Memorial Day Weekend

From the Patch:

The Hinsdale Police Department will conduct special patrols this Memorial Day to crack down on drunk drivers and encourage people to wear their seat belts.

“We’re urging our community’s residents and guests to plan ahead for Memorial Day celebrations,” Chief Brian King said in a release. “If you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver before you go out. Remember: It’s not just about you. There are other people on the roads who want to get where they are going safely.”

Romeoville Mayor Pleads Guilty to DUI

From the Patch:

Less than a month after his DUI arrest, Romeoville Mayor John Noak entered a guilty plea in Will County court. Noak, 44, said he received a $1,500 fine and a year’s supervision, and will be required to submit to an alcohol evaluation and attend a victim impact panel.

Noak, 44, who issued a public apology — including apologizing to Romeoville’s police chief and the officers who responded the day of his arrest — said he takes full responsibility for driving while impaired.

Noak told Patch he took a prescribed medication the day of his State of the Village due an abrupt health issue, but said that wasn’t an excuse for what happened. “(The medication) was something I was unfamiliar with, I didn’t realize it would affect my body so severely,” he said. Noak said he also had not eaten anything prior to his speech.

“Being on medication, getting exhausted and not eating, then going out afterward — that was still my responsibility. That’s still impaired,” he said.

Read the entire story at this link:

Illinois State Police to Conduct Roadblock in McHenry County this weekend


From the Patch:

The Illinois State Police will conduct a roadside safety check over the upcoming weekend in McHenry County. State police officers will be teaming up with the Algonquin Police Department as part of the roadside safety check. Authorities will be on the lookout for drivers who are driving under the influence, speeding, safety belt and child restraint violations and other Illinois vehicle code and criminal violations.

The use of Roadside Safety Checks combine a sense of public awareness and enforcement in order to save lives, according to a Illinois State Police news release.

Middle School Bus Driver charged with DUI with children on board

From the Chicago Tribune:

A suburban school bus driver has been charged with driving under the influence after police said he was involved in two minor crashes while children were on the bus.

Crystal Lake police said they were called Wednesday morning to Hannah Beardsley Middle School, where a bus with children on board struck another bus whose students had already exited.

No injuries were reported, but police said they then learned that the occupied bus, while en route to the school, had also struck a Jeep while driving on Terra Cotta Road north of Route 176.

While both crashes were considered minor, with the buses sustaining minor damage, police said they “uncovered evidence that demonstrated the school bus driver … was possibly under the influence of prescription drugs while operating the school bus.”

Police did not specify the nature of the evidence but said the driver, Wayne Desparte, 75, of Lake in the Hills, was charged with aggravated DUI, a felony, and misdemeanor child endangerment and was being held in McHenry County Jail while awaiting a bond hearing.