Bill Wolf’s “Top Ten” 4th Amendment Cases Decided in the Year 2019

Bill Wolf of the Law Office of William Wolf, LLC gave a presentation last Wednesday to the Chicago Bar Association’s Criminal Law Committee outlining, in his opinion, the most important 4th Amendment cases of the last year for Illinois criminal defense lawyers.

After the presentation, lawyers who couldn’t make the presentation started making requests on Facebook for the materials. So in response to that request, this Law Office is posting the cases as individual posts daily running up to Christmas.

This list is admittedly a little subjective, and there certainly were other cases I did not include on the list. Any feedback about the presentation or the materials is highly desired. These posts will also appear on the Law Office’s Facebook page. This post and tomorrow’s will discuss litigation in front of the United States Supreme Court.

1. Mitchell v. Wisconsin, 588 U.S. ______ (2019). Decided 6/27/2019

In a case where a driver suspected of DUI was unconscious, could not submit to a reliable breath test, and needed hospitalization, his blood was drawn at the hospital and used to determine a BAC level based on an existing Wisconsin statute. The United States Supreme Court, utilizing the exigent-circumstances doctrine, upheld the constitutionality of this statute and the defendant’s resulting conviction. “When a driver is unconscious and cannot be given a breath test, the exigent-circumstances doctrine generally permits a blood test without a warrant.”

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