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Craig Mastantuono Jan. 19, 2013

Mastantuono Law Office has a wealth of experience litigating Search & Seizure issues in State and Federal Courts. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that the right of the people to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. Sounds good, right? But what does it really mean? Where does legitimate police  authority end, and when does it begin to infringe on a person’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure? We hear this question from our clients all the time about the police, usually stated this way: Can They Do That?

Parsing through issues related to police searches and seizures, making the right challenges, and litigating them well is what good lawyers do. It takes the ability to conduct a motion hearing well – to cross examine police officers about what they did and why they did it, in order to win. Then, when the situation calls for it, the ability to write, or brief, the court on the legal issue, is a critical process. Mastantuono Law Office recently litigated a motion hearing involving a challenge to a police entry to our client’s home and resulting search in Green Bay, WI. Following the hearing, we requested the opportunity to brief the legal issue, and we filed that document today. We’ve posted a copy here. It is a concise summary of the law related to warrantless entries of a home by police: a practice that is presumptively unconstitutional under state and federal constitutional law. Despite this presumption, courts have been chipping away at constitutional privilege in this area, creating exceptions to the general requirement that police obtain a warrant from a neutral judge before searching a home. We also think this brief provides a good example, with its reference to the transcripted testimony from the motion hearing, of the combination of cross examination and legal writing skills necessary to litigate these issues successfully. All the names have been changed, of course, but the rest is an accurate copy of the document we filed.