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Last December, this blog discussed a story where police used a trained dog to sniff a car seeking evidence of drugs during a Novato, California traffic stop. Courts generally have held that a dog-sniff outside a car is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore police do not need to obtain a warrant before using a dog outside a car. But the United States Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the legal analysis is different outside the front door of a home.

The issue rose to the high court on an appeal from a drug crime case out of Florida. The state high court had ruled that drugs discovered after police brought a trained drug sniffing dog to a home without a warrant were not admissible in a criminal trial against a resident of the home. Prosecutors appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the case, police say that they had received a tip that a marijuana growing operation was going on inside the home. An investigator brought his K-9 to the home and had the dog sniff the base of the front door.

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Officials in Stanislaus County, California say that the Central Valley Gang Impact Task force led a 10-month investigation before launching a highly visible sweep last week as authorities arrested 14 people on charges ranging from murder to drug crimes. The investigation and arrests involved officers and agents from the federal state and local levels. While many of the people were arrested on federal criminal charges, at least seven were taken into custody on state crimes.

Many people believe that a task force probe looks solely at a distinct and individual alleged offense. But, a task force probe may be opened to investigate general crimes. The latest visible sweep involved arrests in a variety of state and federal criminal allegations that may not be connected to each other in any way.

Authorities claim that the nearly year-long probe looked into allegations of criminal activity, and law enforcement believes that at least one alleged offense may have links to the Nuestra Familia or the street level gang known as the Norteños. But, in the end, not all of the people arrested in the sweep have been linked to gangs, according to information from the Modesto Bee.

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In 2010, federal judge ordered the release of a man who was sentenced under California's three strikes law in 1999. State officials delayed the man's release as the man's appeal works its way through the courts. State officials claim that technical issues in filing the criminal appeal justify holding the innocent man in prison until the courts rule on the legal issues. However, a federal magistrate ordered that the man be released pending the outcome of the appeal.

The release follows the federal court ruling finding the man innocent of the alleged third strike crime. The judge ruled that the man had not received proper representation in his criminal defense in the 1999 trial.

Despite the federal ruling finding the man "actually innocent" of the alleged crime, the legal issues are not necessarily over, according to KTLA. The man had been sentenced under California's three strikes law after being convicted for allegedly carrying a concealed knife during a 1998 bar fight in Northridge, California.

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Today marks the fourth anniversary of the date that prosecutors say Chris Brown struck Rihanna in Southern California. Brown entered a negotiated plea deal with prosecutors in 2009 and pled guilty to felony assault, according to CNN. In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation, and under his plea agreement, he was allowed to perform community service in Virginia.

Brown appeared in court Wednesday after prosecutors claimed that Brown failed to perform the 180 days of community service required under his sentence. The entertainer did not appear alone at the hearing, Rihanna reportedly sat behind Brown in the courtroom.

Prosecutors challenge the records that Brown submitted to show that he had completed the service in Virginia. Brown was allowed under his sentence to perform the service under the supervision of the Chief of Police in Richmond, Virginia. But the prosecutor in Los Angeles calls the paperwork sloppy and fraudulent. However, officers out east reportedly assert that Brown performed the community service as required.

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Police are looking to bring more charges against a Union City, California man after his arrest on New Year's Day. Authorities claim the 25-year-old had stolen two packages from in front of a house in Palo Alto January 1. Palo Alto Police received a call from a resident who claims to have seen someone take packages from a neighbor's doorstep. Law enforcement responded to the area and arrested a Union City man who was in the area.

Police claim that they found two packages in the Union City man's truck. Authorities also seized a baton, a fake gun and drugs after a search of the man's truck. Law enforcement says that a personal check was in the man's Chevrolet pickup truck that authorities believe was stolen from a mailbox in late December. Authorities apparently also suspect the man of drug crimes, after seizing bags and a scale from the truck during the search.

Law enforcement apparently raided a storage unit in Campbell, California as a part of the investigation. Police assert that the Union City man rented the storage unit, where officers reportedly found two more packages that law enforcement believes may have been taken from homes in Palo Alto. Police continue to look for evidence to tie the man to other thefts in Palo Alto. He was booked into jail on several theft-related charges, including possession of stolen property.

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