Weekly Case Summaries: April 2, 2015

Supreme Court of the United States

Grady v. North Carolina

No. 14-593                  3/30/15

Issue:

Does a satellite-based monitoring system via an ankle bracelet fitted on a sex offender constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment?

Holding:

Yes. Whether the search is reasonable is a question to be resolved on a case-by-case basis. Read the opinion.

Commentary:

This is a short per curiam opinion, so it was not intended to establish any new or significant holding of the Court. All that the Court held was that a tracking device placed upon a defendant is a search. In that respect, the holding was nothing more than an application of United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945 (2012). The Court did not hold that such a device required a warrant or that it was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. When confronted with a claim that electronic monitoring was unreasonable when applied to someone like a probationer or parolee, you should use caselaw on the reasonableness of such searches. See Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (2006); United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112 (2001); Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868 (1987); Ex parte Gingell, 842 S.W.2d 284 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992). But above all, do not let defense counsel or a trial judge misinterpret what the Supreme Court held in this case.

Texas Courts of Appeals

Cary v. State

No. 05-13-01010         3/25/15

Issue:

In a bribery case, does the exception for political contributions found in §36.02(d) of the Election Code apply to covert, indirect transfers of money?

Holding:

Yes. The definition in the Election Code does not differentiate between money that looks shifty and money that is clearly above board. Read the opinion.

Commentary:

The odds of your having an Election-Code-related prosecution like this are low. But if you do have such a bribery case, read this decision, especially if the defendant claims that the alleged bribery constituted a political contribution. This decision holds that the State must prove that it is not. 

Office of the Attorney General

Request from the Brown County Attorney

RQ-0018-KP               3/16/15

Question:

Is it appropriate for a county to reimburse all legal costs to an acquitted county commissioner? Read the request.

 

TDCAA is pleased to offer these unique case summaries from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Courts of Appeals and the Texas Attorney General. In addition to the basic summaries, each case will have a link to the full text opinion and will offer exclusive prosecutor commentary explaining how the case may impact you as a prosecutor. The case summaries are for the benefit of prosecutors, their staff members, and members of the law enforcement community. These summaries are NOT a source of legal advice for citizens. The commentaries expressed in these case summaries are not official statements by TDCAA and do not represent the opinions of TDCAA, its staff, or any member of the association. Please email comments, problems, or questions to [email protected].

 

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