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    Recent Developments in 4th Amendment: Your Porch is Safe.

    Last updated 5 years ago

    In the words of Monty Python, the Fourth Amendment is “not quite dead yet.”  At the turn of the century, many practitioners, judges, and scholars alike bemoaned the “death” of the Fourth Amendment following a series of controversial pro-police decisions from the United States Supreme Court.  The president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys was somewhat more charitable:  “[T]he Fourth Amendment is not dead, it's just been in a 28-year coma.”  John Wesley Hall, “A Great Reawakening,” Champion, June 2009.


    On March 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued yet another decision suggesting that the Fourth Amendment is recovering from its multi-decade coma.  In Florida v. Jardines, -- U.S. --, 133 S. Ct. 1409 (March 26, 2013), the Miami-Dade Police Department received an unverified tip that Joelis Jardines was growing marijuana in his home.  Several weeks later, a drug enforcement team surveiled the home, observing nothing suspicious.  They arranged for a drug-sniffing dog to join them, and then proceeded to walk up to the home’s front door, having the dog sniff inside the home.  The dog alerted to the presence of drugs, and the detectives obtained a warrant to search Jardines’ home.  Inside, they found numerous marijuana plants.


    In an opinion authored by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court held that the use of the dog to sniff at the front door constituted an impermissible warrantless search.  The Court relied upon a 1765 case from England, Entick v. Carrington, 2 Wils. K.B. 275, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (K.B. 1765), “a case undoubtedly familiar to every American statesman at the time of the Founding,” to hold that the detectives did not have probable cause to make the warrantless intrusion onto Mr. Jardine’s property.  “[O]ur law holds the property of every man so sacred, that no man can set his foot upon his neighbour's close without his leave.” 2 Wils. K.B., at 291, 95 Eng. Rep., at 817.  A police officer is free to walk up to the front door of a residence with the purpose of speaking with its occupants, the Court held, but the same intrusion simply to conduct a “search” was beyond what the Fourth Amendment permits.


    As the government finds new and creative ways to intrude upon our privacy, it is comforting to see the Supreme Court drawing appropriate lines in the sand beyond which the government cannot cross.

    Find More Family and Criminal Law Information With These Links

    Last updated 5 years ago

    Navigating federal and state law can seem impossible alone, but a bar-certified Arizona lawyer can help you understand the particular laws that govern your case. To learn more about paternity cases and felony convictions, read these articles.

    • The Arizona Department of Economic Security answers a few frequently asked questions about paternity on this page.
    • If you have more questions about establishing paternity, you can find introductory information on this page from The University of Arizona.
    • To learn exactly which legal rights may be revoked if you're convicted of a felony, read section 13-904(E) of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
    • If your right to vote has been revoked following a felony conviction, you may be able to have it reinstated. Read this article from the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona for more information.

    To find out more about the legal material pertinent to your case, call Blumberg & Associates at (602) 457-1951.

    How a Felony Conviction Can Affect Your Life

    Last updated 5 years ago

    If you're convicted of a felony, the law requires that you make restitution for the crime, typically through fees and jail time. However, being convicted of a felony has other consequences which are less immediate, but just as significant. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential if you have been charged with a felony to help you avoid:

    Loss of Legal Rights

    In Arizona, persons convicted of felonies may be stripped of many of their legal rights. Which rights are revoked and the duration of these penalties vary depending on the particular crime committed, the convicted party's previous convictions, and the decisions of judges and legal boards. The most commonly revoked legal rights include the right to vote, the right to possess weapons, eligibility for public health and education benefits, and eligibility for immigration proceedings.

    Financial Consequences

    In addition to losing legal rights as a result of your felony conviction, you may experience serious financial problems. Because many felons are made ineligible for public assistance, you may not qualify for the financial support you need to get back on your feet. Your criminal history may also make it difficult for you to find a job. Arizona law allows state agencies to reject a convicted felon’s application for a license or permit that is necessary for a certain job if the applicant's conviction can be reasonably related to the functions of that job.

    Social Stigma

    Being branded a felon has substantial social consequences, as well. Employers may be unwilling to hire you, while friends, family members, and romantic partners may treat you differently. You may also be legally obliged to state that you are a felon in embarrassing circumstances. Many people treat convicted felons unkindly and are unwilling to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    If you're facing felony charges or have been convicted of a felony, the best way to take your life back is to hire a skilled attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help dismiss charges against you and apply for the reinstatement of your legal rights. For trained legal representation in the Phoenix metro area, contact Blumberg & Associates at (602) 277-6180.

    Why it's Important to Consult an Attorney When Dealing with Paternity Issues

    Last updated 5 years ago

    Paternity disputes are very emotional legal conflicts that have significant ramifications on the lives of parents and children. If you are involved in a paternity suit, the best way to reach the right outcome is to consult a paternity lawyer.

    Your Actions May Be Legally Binding

    If you are unsure about the parentage of a child, it's best to determine the truth immediately. An attorney can advise you about the legal consequences of your actions or inaction to ensure that you make an informed decision. If you care for a child for too long, your state may consider you a "de facto" parent regardless of the child's genetic parentage, and it may be impossible for this to be reversed.

    Statutes of Limitations May Apply

    Typically, all contested paternity cases require both putative parents to undergo genetic testing. However, if you fail to contest or claim paternity within a certain period, requests for genetic testing may no longer be legally binding. A family lawyer experienced in paternity suits can ensure that you don't miss any important legal deadlines when trying to prove or disprove paternity.

    Laws Vary Between States

    Although some federal laws govern the establishment of paternity, most paternity issues are regulated or modified by state law. This makes it crucial to hire a local family lawyer during paternity disputes. A paternity lawyer can draw on his or her history of practice in your state to make sure that all crucial legal procedures are followed. In the case of interstate paternity disputes, a local paternity lawyer can use contacts and resources in other states to compare paternity requirements and make the right legal decisions.

    If you are the putative father of a child you don't believe is related to you or if you're attempting to prove the paternity of your child, a family lawyer is an indispensable resource. For legal assistance with your Arizona paternity case, call Blumberg & Associates at (602) 277-6180. Our Arizona lawyers can help you do what's best for yourself and your child.

    How Does the Court Determine Child Custody in a Divorce?

    Last updated 5 years ago

    Although courts weigh many different criteria in child custody proceedings, the most important consideration is the best interests of the child or children. This video provides more information about how custody decisions are made.

    In some states, mothers are given priority when assigning custody to parents, but many view both parents equally. The parents' individual financial situations, personal bonds with the children, suitability for parenthood, and a number of other factors are also considered. If the child is of sufficient age to make an informed decision, his or her testimony may also be considered when awarding custody.

    A custody battle isn't something you should go through alone. The lawyers at Blumberg & Associates can provide legal assistance, emotional support, and family law advice. To learn more about our family law and criminal defense firm, contact us today at (602) 277-6180.

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