Florida Search and Seizure Case Law - 2021

Below we have compiled a list of the case law decided in 2021 related to search and seizures in Florida. These cases may be helpful if you are dealing with a 4th Amendment case in Florida, including issues related to law enforcement searching people or their property, and any evidence they may seize during a search.

Since there are 52 cases use Control + F to search for your issue in the list of cases below.


1. Green v. Alachua County
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. - June 11, 2021 323 So.3d 246
Issue in the case: A person’s right to be let alone by other people is left largely to the law of the individual states and is not contained in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

2. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. - July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: The touchstone of any Fourth Amendment analysis, including one involving a welfare check, is reasonableness, which is measured by the totality of existing circumstances.

3. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. - June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: Ordinarily, searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment—subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.

4. State v. Foster
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. - July 21, 2021 323 So.3d 209
Issue in the case: A person exhibits a subjective expectation of privacy, as required for an oral communication to be protected under statute prohibiting the interception or recording of private oral communications and the use of such communications as evidence, only when the individual has shown that he seeks to preserve something as private.

5. State v. Foster
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. July 21, 2021 323 So.3d 209
Issue in the case: A party’s claim to a subjective expectation of privacy, as required for an oral communication to be protected under statute prohibiting the interception or recording of private oral communications and the use of such communications as evidence, in a conversation can be rejected when there is no evidence the party made any effort or otherwise took precautions to keep the conversation private. Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 934.03, 934.06.

6. State v. Foster
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. - July 21, 2021 323 So.3d 209
Issue in the case: Correctional officer did not have subjective expectation of privacy while conducting mandatory exit interview with former corrections officer whose reason for resigning was due to witnessing instances of inmate abuse, and thus, recorded exit interview was not “oral communication” within meaning of statute prohibiting the recording of private oral communications and the use of such communications as evidence; officer documented former officer’s reason for resignation by preparing incident report submitted for review for a possible investigation, all attendees at the exit interview were correctional employees, were located on correctional institution’s property, and acted in furtherance of public duties, and the allegations of inmate abuse were a matter of public interest.

7. Silversmith v. State Farm Insurance Company
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. - July 7, 2021 324 So.3d 517
Issue in the case: For an oral conversation to be protected under statute governing the interception of electronic communications, the speaker must have an actual subjective expectation of privacy, along with a societal recognition that the expectation is reasonable.

8. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. - July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: As a basic principle of Fourth Amendment law, an unconstitutional seizure or arrest which prompts a disclaimer of property vitiates the disclaimer.

9. Brown v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. - January 29, 2021 313 So.3d 848
Issue in the case: Reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop alone does not justify an arrest or search.

10. Tolliver v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. - January 8, 2021 309 So.3d 718
Issue in the case: An anonymous tip alone is not enough to justify a warrantless search or entry.

11. Owens v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. March 31, 2021 317 So.3d 1218
Issue in the case: The standard for probable cause to search is a practical and common sensical standard; it is enough if there is the kind of fair probability on which reasonable people act.

12. Brown v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. January 29, 2021 313 So.3d 848
Issue in the case: State failed to demonstrate that police officer had probable cause to arrest defendant or any other basis to justify a search of defendant or his personal belongings, and thus suppression of physical evidence found during search was required; State did not present any evidence regarding what happened during the stop, State did not argue that there was probable cause to arrest and search, State argued there was no arrest, and State did not otherwise address the search that resulted in the discovery of drugs.

13. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Welfare checks fall under the community caretaking doctrine, an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirement, which recognizes the duty of police officers to ensure the safety and welfare of the citizenry at large.

14. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Under the judicially created “community caretaking doctrine,” law enforcement actions that might otherwise violate the Fourth Amendment can be found lawful when they occur in connection with an officer’s community caretaking functions, totally devoid from the detection, investigation, or acquisition of evidence relating to the violation of a criminal statute.

15. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Because searches and seizures conducted in connection with welfare checks are solely for safety reasons, the scope of an encounter associated with a welfare check is limited to prevent the exception to Fourth Amendment requirements from becoming an investigative tool that circumvents the Fourth Amendment.

16. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: The purpose of a welfare check regulates its scope: without any reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is or was afoot, the welfare check should end when the need for it ends.

17. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: The touchstone of any Fourth Amendment analysis, including one involving a welfare check, is reasonableness, which is measured by the totality of existing circumstances.

18. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Both the scope and manner of a welfare check must be reasonable in order to fall within exception to Fourth Amendment search warrant requirement.

19. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: One exception to the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw is when the exigencies of the situation make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that a warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

20. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: The purpose of a welfare check regulates its scope: without any reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is or was afoot, the welfare check should end when the need for it ends.

21. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Both the scope and manner of a welfare check must be reasonable in order to fall within exception to Fourth Amendment search warrant requirement.

22. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: While law enforcement is not required to use the least intrusive methods available when performing community caretaking functions, a welfare check, particularly one that evolves into a search and seizure, must be commensurate with the perceived exigency at hand.

23. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: An “inventory search,” as the term implies, is the search of property lawfully seized and detained, in order to ensure that it is harmless, to secure valuable items (such as might be kept in a towed car), and to protect against false claims of loss or damage.

24. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: An inventory search serves the needs of protection of the owner’s property, protection of police against claims of lost or stolen property, and protection of police against potential danger from such things as explosives.

25. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: Lest inventory searches devolve into a subterfuge to conduct a warrantless search for incriminating evidence, impoundment must be done in good faith and in accordance with the governmental entity’s standardized operating procedures.

26. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: There are three ways law enforcement officers may conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle: (1) incident to a lawful arrest of a recent occupant of the vehicle; (2) the automobile exception, based on probable cause that the vehicle contains contraband or other evidence of a crime; and (3) pursuant to an inventory search.

27. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: There are three ways law enforcement officers may conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle: (1) incident to a lawful arrest of a recent occupant of the vehicle; (2) the automobile exception, based on probable cause that the vehicle contains contraband or other evidence of a crime; and (3) pursuant to an inventory search.

28. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: Reasonable police regulations relating to motor vehicle inventory procedures administered in good faith satisfy the Fourth Amendment reasonableness requirement for warrantless searches.

29. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: The reasonableness of a purported inventory search of a motor vehicle is dependent upon it being a true good-faith inventory search and not a subterfuge for a criminal, investigatory search.

30. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: Arrest affidavit’s initial characterization of the search of the truck defendant had been driving as a search incident to defendant’s arrest on outstanding warrant did not preclude a finding that the search had instead been conducted as a valid inventory search of an impounded vehicle.

31. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: One exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement is when it is necessary for a law enforcement officer to impound an automobile and conduct an inventory search of its contents.

32. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: An “inventory search,” as the term implies, is the search of property lawfully seized and detained, in order to ensure that it is harmless, to secure valuable items (such as might be kept in a towed car), and to protect against false claims of loss or damage.

33. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: A law enforcement agency must show that it is operating under a standard of some sort—that is, a directive, a guidepost, a benchmark, a criteria—that informs and potentially curtails the exercise of an officer’s discretion before a law enforcement officer can impound a vehicle and conduct an inventory search.

34. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: To comply with the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw, or there must be some other exception to the warrant requirement.

35. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: One exception to the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw is when the exigencies of the situation make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that a warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

36. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Unconstitutional detention of defendant, resulting from officer’s actions in exceeding permissible scope of welfare check, tainted officer’s later search of and seizure of evidence from defendant’s vehicle, even if subsequent alert by detection dog gave officer probable cause to search defendant’s vehicle.

37. Bracht v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. April 30, 2021 317 So.3d 1250
Issue in the case: The “conclusion of the proceeding,” under statute requiring motion for return of seized property to be filed within 60 days of conclusion of proceeding, is when the mandate issues from the appellate court on a direct appeal of a defendant’s judgment and sentence.

38. Bracht v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. April 30, 2021 317 So.3d 1250
Issue in the case: The “conclusion of the proceeding,” for purposes of statute providing that a motion for return of property must be filed within sixty days of rendition of final judgment, means the date the judgment and sentence became final without regard to subsequent postconviction proceedings.

39. Bracht v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. April 30, 2021 317 So.3d 1250
Issue in the case: Under statute providing that unclaimed evidence vests permanently in the law enforcement agency 60 days after the conclusion of the proceeding, 60-day time limit for filing motion for return of seized property began to run when judgment and sentence became final, rather than when the mandate was issued for appeal from denial of motion to correct sentence, where defendant did not take direct appeal from his judgment and sentence.

40. Shirah v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. March 11, 2021 312 So.3d 1054
Issue in the case: If a court finds that a claimant has made a prima facie case for return of property the State holds, and the State is unable to connect the items to specific criminal activity, and no one else can be identified who can demonstrate a superior possessory interest in the property, the property should be returned to the claimant or to such person(s) as he may designate.

41. Shirah v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. March 11, 2021 312 So.3d 1054
Issue in the case: Sheriff’s office was required to establish that it lawfully seized petitioner’s television and video game console from petitioner’s private bedroom during search related to petitioner’s father’s drug charges, in order for 60-day time period to apply for sheriff’s office to obtain title to the property, rather than four-year statute of limitations for actions for return of property held by State.

42. Chery v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. September 17, 2021 --- So.3d ----
Issue in the case: Under the totality of the circumstances test, the proper analysis for determining whether an affidavit provides the necessary probable cause to support issuance of a search warrant is whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit, there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.

43. Chery v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. September 17, 2021 --- So.3d ----
Issue in the case: Affidavit used to support search warrant must state that the affiant has personal knowledge of the confidential informant’s veracity or the affidavit must contain sufficient independent corroborating evidence.

44. Taylor v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. July 15, 2021 326 So.3d 115
Issue in the case: Defendant retained standing to challenge search and seizure of illegal items in his car, even though he disclaimed knowledge or ownership of those items; defendant owned the vehicle searched, officer’s search and seizure was unconstitutional, and defendant disclaimed the illegal items as a result of the unconstitutional search and seizure.

45. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: To comply with the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw, or there must be some other exception to the warrant requirement.

46. Tolliver v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. January 8, 2021 309 So.3d 718
Issue in the case: A warrantless search will be considered lawful if conducted pursuant to consent which was given freely and voluntarily.

47. Carter v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. March 24, 2021 313 So.3d 1191
Issue in the case: Defendant was not coerced into consenting to the search of her vehicle in connection with traffic stop; there was only one officer at the scene, officer asked to search defendant’s vehicle, he did not threaten defendant in any way, he did not have his hand on his service weapon, and he did not act in an aggressive manner.

48. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: Where the State has engaged in a warrantless search, the State bears the burden to show that the search was legal.

49. Ross v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. June 18, 2021 319 So.3d 807
Issue in the case: Since an inventory search is a kind of warrantless search, it is the State’s burden to put evidence before the court that a law enforcement agency is operating under a standard of some sort that informs and potentially curtails an officer’s discretion before the officer can impound a vehicle and conduct an inventory search.

50. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: It is the state’s burden to prove that an exception to the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw applies.

51. Dusan v. State
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. May 14, 2021 323 So.3d 239
Issue in the case: It is the state’s burden to prove that an exception to the requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant or consent for a blood draw applies.

52. State v. Koontz
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District. June 18, 2021 320 So.3d 993
Issue in the case: The law enforcement officer’s characterization of a search does not control the reviewing court’s analysis, rather it is the actual nature of the search which controls.


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These cases should not be relied upon as case law is always evolving. Before relying on any content on this website, it should be independently verified by a licensed legal professional. THIS CONTENT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH A LICENSED FLORIDA ATTORNEY FOR ANY LEGAL MATTER.

 

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