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Friday, March 04, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts two today

USA v. Martin, Leland D. (SD Ind., Sarah Evans Barker, Judge [4 pp.]

Before FLAUM, Chief Judge, and EASTERBROOK and WOOD, Circuit Judges.
EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. State and federal agents got wind of the possibility that Leland Martin had acquired guns and dynamite in preparation for robbing a bank. They arrested him on a warrant for an unrelated offense; once the agents appeared with warrant in hand, both Martin and his wife consented to a search of their home, where the agents found a gun and ammunition. * * * Martin has no complaint about the sentence. But he does contend that the judge should have suppressed the damning evidence. Consents are invalid, he insists, because the officers should not have been in his home to request them. Although the warrant was valid when issued, Martin says, it was stale when executed. * * *

Probable cause for a warrant is not necessarily enough. After all, the fourth amendment requires searches and seizures to be “reasonable.” Passage of time could affect reasonableness, especially for search warrants that authorize the police to hunt for items that are portable (or consumable). An arrest might be thought unreasonable after the statute of limitations for the offense has lapsed. * * * Delay in executing an arrest warrant also increases the likelihood that the suspect has turned himself in or been arrested on another charge during the interim. A misdemeanor charge might be cleared, and the penalty exacted, before the warrant had been executed, and such an arrest could be thought unreasonable. Police guarded against that risk, however, by checking to see whether the charge remained unresolved. It was, so Martin was still a fugitive at the time of his arrest. See United States v. Towne, 870 F.2d 880, 884 (1st Cir. 1989). The warrant was constitutionally valid and its execution reasonable, so the consents were untainted. AFFIRMED

Torry, Nancy E. v. Northrop Grumman (ND Ill.) [6 pp.]

Before POSNER, MANION, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.
POSNER, Circuit Judge. * * * Despite wasting our time with a bad argument, Northrop Grumman is entitled to prevail on this appeal. The plaintiff’s claim of discrimination has no merit. She was laid off in a RIF, and she does not question the bona fides of the RIF. Her argument is that she should have been allowed to bump junior employees and thus retain her job. She relies heavily on a handbook distributed to all of the defendant’s employees that creates bumping rights without need to apply for the job one wants to be bumped into. But the handbook contains an express disclaimer of the applicability of these bumping rights to hourly workers at the particular plant at which she worked. She made no application—which also scotches her claim that a younger white worker was given a discriminatory preference over her by being offered another job when he was bumped; he had applied for the job. AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 4, 2005 01:50 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions