Articles Posted in Illegal Search

tennessean newspaper article

The Tennessean, 14 July 2000

Nearly eighteen years ago, I was part of a team hired to represent two men who were arrested after the discovery of 264 pounds of marijuana in the back of a trailer truck. At the preliminary hearing in Nashville General Sessions Court, we were able to prove to the judge that the men had their rights violated by police during the search and seizure.

tennessean newspaper articleThe Tennessean, 2 February 2001


A client out on parole was recently arrested with a loaded handgun and 52 grams of crack cocaine. Charged with possession of both drugs and the handgun, he was looking at anywhere from 22 to 38 years in prison. After hiring us, we got all the evidence thrown-out and the case was dismissed! We even got the charges expunged (erased) from his record! How did we do it? Through hard work in and out of the courtroom, we were able to prove the police violated his rights during the arrest.

This isn’t just a job for us. We take our client’s situations very seriously. At Himmelberg & Associates, we understand that people come to us during the worst days of their lives. For over 25 years, Attorney Don Himmelberg has helped guide Tennesseans through the difficult and confusing process of the criminal justice system. Criminal charges can affect your family, your job, and your future.

Don’t wait until it is too late. When you’re arrested, call us immediately. Let us help get your life back to normal. Call our office at (615) 353-0930 or call Don on his cell phone at (615) 308-5405.

Earlier this month a client of this law firm was arrested for possession of 42 pounds of marijuana that was found in the trunk of his car. Facing felony charges, substantial fines, and court costs and other fees, he didn’t know what to do. Needing an experienced defense lawyer in Nashville who has handled hundreds of drug cases, he gave us a call and set up a free consultation. We met with the client, devised an aggressive strategy to tackle his case, and then went on the offensive.

During our cross-examination of the arresting officer at the preliminary hearing, the presiding judge agreed with our defense and delivered a ruling in our favor that the stop was illegal.

Case Dismissed. No Felony Record! No Fine! No Court Cost! No Probation!


The Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California held that police must obtain a warrant before going through people’s cellphones. In a unanimous decision, this ruling is at the soul of privacy rights and marks a win for more American privacy in the ever changing technology era.

This ruling arose from two different cases Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie. In both cases police seized the defendant’s cell phone, incident to arrest, looked through it for information and that incriminating information found was used against the defendants in court.

The Police argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone’s life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections.

The Supreme Court went on to say, “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion. “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant.”

SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) went even further to say law enforcement cannot check a cellphone’s call log because it could contain more information than phone numbers, and examining the call log is a violation of privacy that can be justified only with a court-issued warrant.

If a warrantless search was conducted on you or a family member leading to a criminal charge please contact MDH & Associates for a free consultation 615-308-5405. It’s good to know your rights!
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Suppression of Evidence for a criminal defense attorney is pivotal in some major cases. Evidence that the District Attorney has obtained such as a search warrant, wiretap, video, and photos all can be challenged for its admissibility. Evidence is suppressed when a judge decides that the evidence in question was illegally obtained. This is known as the “exclusionary rule.”

Tennessee Code 50-4-108; states the following for suppression of evidence,

(a) Any person aggrieved by an unlawful inspection of premises named in an administrative inspection warrant may in any judicial or administrative proceeding move to suppress any evidence or information received, or moves for the return of any item seized, by the agency pursuant to the inspection.

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Illinois v. Caballes that when a trained drug dog sniffs a persons automobile, there is no search. As a result, no constitutional violation occurs. This is the case even if the police have absolutely no reason to suspect you may be carrying illegal contraband whatsoever.


The majority reasoned that a dog’s sniffing is not really a “search” because it detects only contraband, and therefore does not compromise the privacy of someone who has nothing to hide. Justices David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg both dissented strongly, warning that this decision could lead to “suspicionless and indiscriminate sweeps of cars in parking garages and pedestrians on sidewalks.”

The decision was not shocking, it was merely an extension of an earlier case decided by the Supreme Court in 1982 which held that the use of drug sniffing dogs to search luggage in an airport was in fact not a search either. (United States v. Place).
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