The Fourth Amendment: Comprehensive Search and Seizure (JS 645)

May 23-26, 2016 | Location Reno, NV | Tuition $1,025 | Conference Fee $255 What’s this?

When is a search or seizure justified? When does a seizure occur? Who has standing to challenge? When is a search or seizure justified? When is a warrant needed? If the amendment is violated, does the exclusionary rule apply? Along with computers and digital evidence, the course examines consent searches, warrant execution issues, and searches without warrants including exigent circumstances, community caretaking, inventory searches, automobile searches, frisks, and searches incident to arrest.

Register Now

Why should I take this course?

The Fourth Amendment is the most implicated constitutional protection. It is also the most litigated. Accordingly, judges frequently have to rule on objections and motions concerning the Fourth Amendment. What is a search? When does a seizure occur? What are the types of searches and seizures? What interests are protected by the Amendment? Who has standing to challenge the intrusion? When is a search or seizure justified? When do the police need a warrant? If the Fourth Amendment has been violated, does the exclusionary rule apply?

The four-day course offers insights on motion hearings practice, examines the principles related to consent searches, and contains sessions on warrant issuance and review of that decision, warrant execution issues, and searches without warrants. These latter searches include exigent circumstances, community caretaking, inventory searches, and automobile searches. The course also discusses frisks and searches incident to arrest. Finally, the course offers an overview of developing principles related to computers and digital evidence.

What will I learn?

During this course, you will learn to:

  • Describe limitations on protected interests including open fields, assumption of risk, voluntary disclosure and abandoned property.
  • Articulate the Supreme Court’s framework to address standing.
  • Identify the present scope of Fourth Amendment protection in areas around residences and businesses.
  • Describe the lower burden on the government to prove consent to search was voluntary under the Fourth Amendment compared to the government’s burden to prove “waiver” and voluntary relinquishment of rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
  • Determine when a seizure occurs within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
  • Identify the Terry v. Ohio frisk, plain view and plain feel, protective sweeps, exigent circumstances, and inventory exceptions to the search warrant requirement.
  • Determine the applicability of the Fourth Amendment to automobile searches.
  • Summarize the “knock and announce” rule and identify the limits of detaining a person during the execution of a search warrant.
  • Summarize the elements of a valid search warrant.
  • Define when to hold motion hearings and rule on standing issues with greater accuracy.
  • Summarize the exclusionary rule; define the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine; describe when the “attenuation of the taint” doctrine applies; identify when the “independent source” doctrine applies; describe the “inevitable discovery” rule; identify the applicability of “good faith” in the area of inevitable discovery; and summarize the “impeachment” exception to the exclusionary rule.
  • Describe the two different ways that appellate courts analyze computers (as containers or as “special approach”).
  • Analyze whether the amount of intermingled documents should change the analysis in allowing a computer search or seizure or not.

Who should attend?

The course is valuable to both beginning and experienced judges.

Who are the members of the faculty?

Professor Thomas Clancy is the author of two editions of The Fourth Amendment: Its History and Interpretation, a treatise that explores the myriad of issues involved in Fourth Amendment litigation. He has also authored a number of law review articles. He is joined by judges Joseph Troy (retired) and Mark McGinnis of Wisconsin. The faculty team has educated hundreds of judges, both trial and appellate.

How is this course taught?

A variety of teaching techniques including lectures, case studies, large and small group discussions, and polling questions. The course is an excellent mix of the theoretical and practical.

What should I tell my presiding judge or funding agency so that my attendance will be approved?

Ruling incorrectly on a search or seizure matter can result in having to retry a case. The Fourth Amendment is one of the most litigated and most technically difficult areas of the law. To avoid wasting scarce judicial resources, all judges can benefit from participation in the course.

Whom should I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (800) 255-8343 or

This course qualifies for 2 credits toward the Master of Judicial Studies Degree Program and Judicial Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Nevada, Reno upon successful completion of the course and passing the course exam. In addition, this course qualifies for The National Judicial College Certificate in Judicial Development program General Jurisdiction Trial Skills and Special Court Trial Skills disciplines.

Register Now