Forth Amendment Cases

Fourth Amendment United States Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

William Pitt in Parliament in 1763: ”The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail–its roof may shake–the wind may blow through it–the storm may enter, the rain may enter–but the King of England cannot enter–all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.”


Cases are at follow links

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20 (1968).

United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 11 (1977); Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 352 (1967). But cf. South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976) (no legitimate expectation of privacy in automobile left with doors locked and windows rolled up)

The threshold of the home protected.

Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 590 (1980); Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204, 212 (1981). And see Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978).

Vehicles diminished exception

Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753, 761 (1979) (collecting cases); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 804 -09 (1982). A person’s expectation of privacy in personal luggage and other closed containers is substantially greater than in an automobile, United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 13 (1977); Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753 (1979), although if the luggage or container is found in an automobile as to which there exists probable cause to search, the legitimate expectancy diminishes accordingly. United States v. Ross, supra. There is also a diminished expectation of privacy in a mobile home parked in a parking lot and licensed for vehicular travel. California v. Carney, 471 U.S. 386 (1985) (leaving open the question of whether the automobile exception also applies to a ”mobile” home being used as a residence and not adapted for immediate vehicular use).

Justice Stewart’ ‘[A] person has been ’seized’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave”)

United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980) (opinion of Justice Stewart) (”[A] person has been ’seized’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave”). See also Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 16 -19 (1968). Apprehension by the use of deadly force is a seizure subject to the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement. See, e.g., Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985) (police officer’s fatal shooting of a fleeing suspect); Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593 (1989) (police roadblock designed to end car chase with fatal crash).

Probation searches and Schools

Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868, 873 (1987) (administrative needs of probation system justify warrantless searches of probationers’ homes on less than probable cause); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526 (1984) (no Fourth Amendment protection from search of prison cell); New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985) (simple reasonableness standard governs searches of students’ persons and effects by public school authorities); O’Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987) (reasonableness test for work-related searches of employees’ offices by government employer); Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Ass’n, 489 U.S. 602 (1989) (neither probable cause nor individualized suspicion is necessary for mandatory drug testing of railway employees involved in accidents or safety violations). All of these cases are discussed infra under the general heading ”Valid Searches and Seizures Without Warrants.”


While the exceptions may be different as between arrest warrants and search warrants, the requirements for the issuance of the two are the same. Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 112 n.3 (1964). Also, the standards by which the validity of warrants are to be judged are the same, whether federal or state officers are involved. Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23 (1963).

Challenging the bases of a warrant and affidavit of Probable Cause issues.

Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410 (1969); United States v. Harris, 403 U.S. 573 (1971). He may challenge the veracity of the statements used by the police to procure the warrant and otherwise contest the accuracy of the allegations going to establish probable cause, but the Court has carefully hedged his ability to do so. Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978). He may also question the power of the official issuing the warrant, Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 449 -53 (1971), or the specificity of the particularity required. Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192 (1927).

Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28 (1927) (affiant stated he ”has good reason to believe and does believe” that defendant has contraband materials in his possession); Giordenello v. United States, 357 U.S. 480 (1958) (complainant merely stated his conclusion that defendant had committed a crime). See also Nathanson v. United States, 290 U.S. 41 (1933).


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

gina gonzalez July 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I would like to share incidents regarding Arlington Police Dept. in Arlington,TX and some of the people involved. It deals with cops having a badge representing the law.Dirty cops robbing us entered our home WITHOUT SEARCH WARRANT at 2304 Garden Park Ct. Arlington,TX pointing a gun at my head in my bedroom demanding money. They search thru the whole house and found money. Afterwards one officer had me in the bedroom while the others were in my elderly mother bedroom hurting her. One of the officer is Jack Gariota #0807 with other officers, Jamar Johnson cooked manager ,Simone Jackson teller of Bank of America on 7/1/09. Later on officer Michael called me on my cell phone demanding money from me, telling me there were people outside my home waiting for the money. They threaten my mother & I having other police officers & people wherever we go, they would observe us wherever we go. People came in the house seeing & hearing the officers & Jamar Johnson being so loud. Sue Hughes 2309 Garden Park Ct. Jason Kurian 2308 Garden Park Ct. Jason been in the house several times sexually assaulting & stealing from us. I spoke with severa IA regarding their officers conducts and performance , IA officers felt there was no misconduct and they didn’t care about their officer calling us demanding money. Some of Arlington police officers are involved in Mexican human trafficking and much more. If their officers are crooked, the chief of police also has his hands dirty too.

MANUEL GRIECO October 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm

please help having trouble getting cops to inverstergaite cops filed complaint at police dep that whent know were.been getting jerked around by attourney generals office gonna try dep of justice.whats the next step. I have enough to fry these cops if some would actauly investgaite

admin February 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigations Civil Rights Division.
Keep us posted.

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