Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure : a treatise on the Fourth Amendment, West, 5th ed. (2012)

Law Libray Reserve Collection: KF9630 .L33 2012

With several criminal law classes such as LAW 725 Introduction to Criminal Procedure and LAW 860 Advanced Criminal Procedure : Representing the Criminal Appellant being offered this Spring semester, it seemed like a good time for a book review.  The book is none other than Wayne R. LaFave's Search and Seizure : a treatise on the Fourth Amendment now in its 5th edition and newly updated this past October with pocket parts.  This six-volume set is also available online on Westlaw.

The Basics About the Book:

Back in 1978 when the first edition of Search and Seizure : a treatise on the Fourth Amendment was published, the Michigan Law Review ran a Book Review that began:

"For the first time, search and seizure has been reviewed, analytically dissected, and exhaustively annotated with both state and federal decisions."  The review went on to call it a "masterful treatise."

More than 40 years later, LaFave's work still stands as the preeminent "analysis of the entire range of contemporary Fourth Amendment issues."

Topics covered in this six volume set include:

  • the exlusionary rule and related remedies
  • protected areas and interests
  • probable cause
  • search warrants
  • search and seizure of persons and their personal effects
  • entry and search of premises
  • search and seizure of vehicles
  • consent searches
  • stop and frisk
  • inspections and regulatory searches
  • administration of the exclusionary rule

The grounds for a Terry stop are identified and significant discussion is given to what is a "permissible" stop.  Diverse factual situations are used throughout as an aid to the development of more effective arguments at the plea bargaining, trial, and appeal phases of a criminal case.

Two recent highlights from the October updates include developments related to the use of facial recognition technology in light of Carpenter v. U.S., and discussion of the boundaries of questioning that is routine and within the mission of a traffic stop.

In Professor LaFave's own words "For most of my life in academe, I have staked out as my favorite intellectual sandbox the fourth amendment -- that is, the law governing constitutional limitations upon search and seizure."  "I continue to mine this particular vein of constitutional law not merely because the subject fascinates me, but also because of my sense of the importance in our society of those rights guaranteed by the fourth amendment."

From: Wayne R. LaFave, Being Frank About the Fourth: On Allen's "Process of Factualization" in the Search and Seizure Cases," 85 Mich. L. Rev. 427, 429 (1986).

About the Author:

Professor LaFave earned his LLB and SJD degrees at the University of Wisconsin where he was Phi Beta Kappa, Order of the Coif, and Knapp Fellow.  He began his career as a member of the Illinois law faculty in 1961, and is still there today as a Research Professor, the David C. Baum Professor of Law Emeritus, and Center for Advanced Study Professor Emeritus.

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on February 4, 2020

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