Tag: Person

Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98 (1980)


When police officers, armed with a warrant to arrest one Marquess, arrived at his house, another resident of the house and four visitors, including petitioner, were there. While searching the house unsuccessfully for Marquess, several officers smelled marihuana smoke and saw marihuana seeds. Two of the officers left to obtain a warrant to search the house, and the other officers detained the occupants, allowing them to leave only if they consented to a body search. About 45 minutes later, the officers returned with the search warrant; the warrant was read to the remaining occupants, including petitioner, and they were also given Miranda warnings; and one Cox, an occupant, was ordered to empty her purse, which contained drugs that were controlled substances under Kentucky law. Cox told petitioner, who was standing nearby in response to an officer’s command, “to take what was his,” and petitioner immediately claimed ownership of the drugs. At that time, an officer searched petitioner, finding $ 4,500 in cash and a knife, and petitioner was then formally arrested. Petitioner was indicted for possessing with intent to sell the controlled substances recovered from Cox’s purse, and the Kentucky trial court denied petitioner’s motion to suppress, as fruits of an illegal detention and illegal searches, the drugs, the money, and the statements made by him when the police discovered the drugs. Petitioner’s conviction was affirmed by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and the Kentucky Supreme Court, in turn affirmed, holding that petitioner had no “standing” to contest the search of Cox’s purse because he had no legitimate or reasonable expectation of freedom from governmental intrusion into the purse, and that the search uncovering the money in petitioner’s pocket was justifiable as incident to a lawful arrest based on probable cause.


1. The conclusion that petitioner did not sustain his burden of proving that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in Cox’s purse so as to allow him to challenge the validity of the search of the purse is supported by the record, which includes petitioner’s admission at the suppression hearing that he did not believe that the purse would be free from governmental intrusion. Nor was petitioner entitled to challenge 

Page 448 U. S. 99

the search, regardless of his expectation of privacy, merely because he claimed ownership of the drugs in the purse. While petitioner’s ownership of the drugs is one fact to be considered, “arcane” concepts of property law do not control the ability to claim the protections of the Fourth Amendment.  Cf. Rakas v. Illinois,439 U. S. 128. Pp.  448 U. S. 104-106.

2. Under the totality of circumstances present (the giving of Miranda warnings, the short lapse of time between petitioner’s detention and his admissions being outweighed by the “congenial atmosphere” in the house during this interval, his admissions being apparently spontaneous reactions to the discovery of the drugs in Cox’s purse, the police conduct not appearing to rise to the level of conscious or flagrant misconduct requiring prophylactic exclusion of petitioner’s admissions, and petitioner not having argued that his admissions were anything other than voluntary), Kentucky carried its burden of showing that petitioner’s statements to the police admitting his ownership of the drugs were acts of free will unaffected by any illegality in his detention, assuming, arguendo, that the police violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by detaining petitioner and his companions in the house while they obtained a search warrant.  Cf. Brown v. Illinois, 422 U. S. 590. Pp.  448 U. S. 106-110.

3. The search of petitioner’s person that uncovered the money and the knife was valid as incident to his formal arrest. Once he admitted ownership of the drugs found in Cox’s purse, the police had probable cause to arrest him, and where the arrest followed quickly after the search of petitioner’s person it is not important that the search preceded the arrest, rather than vice versa. Pp.  448 U. S. 110-111.

581 S.W.2d 348, affirmed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BLACKMUN, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, and in Parts I and II-A of which STEWART and WHITE, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p.  448 U. S. 111. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, in which STEWARTJ J., joined, post, p.  448 U. S. 113. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 448 U. S. 114. 

Page 448 U. S. 100

New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985)


A teacher at a New Jersey high school, upon discovering respondent, then a 14-year-old freshman, and her companion smoking cigarettes in a school lavatory in violation of a school rule, took them to the Principal’s office, where they met with the Assistant Vice Principal. When respondent, in response to the Assistant Vice Principal’s questioning, denied that she had been smoking and claimed that she did not smoke at all, the Assistant Vice Principal demanded to see her purse. Upon opening the purse, he found a pack of cigarettes and also noticed a package of cigarette rolling papers that are commonly associated with the use of marihuana. He then proceeded to search the purse thoroughly and found some marihuana, a pipe, plastic bags, a fairly substantial amount of money, an index card containing a list of students who owed respondent money, and two letters that implicated her in marihuana dealing. Thereafter, the State brought delinquency charges against respondent in the Juvenile Court, which, after denying respondent’s motion to suppress the evidence found in her purse, held that the Fourth Amendment applied to searches by school officials, but that the search in question was a reasonable one, and adjudged respondent to be a delinquent. The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s finding that there had been no Fourth Amendment violation, but vacated the adjudication of delinquency and remanded on other grounds. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed and ordered the suppression of the evidence found in respondent’s purse, holding that the search of the purse was unreasonable.


1. The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures applies to searches conducted by public school officials, and is not limited to searches carried out by law enforcement officers. Nor are school officials exempt from the Amendment’s dictates by virtue of the special nature of their authority over schoolchildren. In carrying out searches and other functions pursuant to disciplinary policies mandated by state statutes, school officials act as representatives of the State, not merely as surrogates for the parents of students, and they cannot claim the parents immunity from the Fourth Amendment’s strictures. Pp.  469 U. S. 333-337. 

Page 469 U. S. 326

2. Schoolchildren have legitimate expectations of privacy. They may find it necessary to carry with them a variety of legitimate, noncontraband items, and there is no reason to conclude that they have necessarily waived all rights to privacy in such items by bringing them onto school grounds. But striking the balance between schoolchildren’s legitimate expectations of privacy and the school’s equally legitimate need to maintain an environment in which learning can take place requires some easing of the restrictions to which searches by public authorities are ordinarily subject. Thus, school officials need not obtain a warrant before searching a student who is under their authority. Moreover, school officials need not be held subject to the requirement that searches be based on probable cause to believe that the subject of the search has violated or is violating the law. Rather, the legality of a search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of the search. Determining the reasonableness of any search involves a determination of whether the search was justified at its inception and whether, as conducted, it was reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the interference in the first place. Under ordinary circumstances, the search of a student by a school official will be justified at its inception where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school. And such a search will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search, and not excessively intrusive in light of the student’s age and sex and the nature of the infraction. Pp.  469 U. S. 337-343.

3. Under the above standard, the search in this case was not unreasonable for Fourth Amendment purposes. First, the initial search for cigarettes was reasonable. The report to the Assistant Vice Principal that respondent had been smoking warranted a reasonable suspicion that she had cigarettes in her purse, and thus the search was justified despite the fact that the cigarettes, if found, would constitute “mere evidence” of a violation of the no-smoking rule. Second, the discovery of the rolling papers then gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that respondent was carrying marihuana as well as cigarettes in her purse, and this suspicion justified the further exploration that turned up more evidence of drug-related activities. Pp.  469 U. S. 343-347.

94 N.J. 331, 463 A.2d 934, reversed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and POWELL, REHNQUIST, and O’CONNOR, JJ., joined, and in Part  469 U. S. MARSHALL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which O’CONNOR, J., joined, post, p.  469 U. S. 348. 

Page 469 U. S. 327

BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p.  469 U. S. 351. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p.  469 U. S. 353. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, and in Part I of which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p.  469 U. S. 370.

Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366 (1993)



CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF MINNESOTA No. 91-2019. Argued March 3, 1993-Decided June 7, 1993

Based upon respondent’s seemingly evasive actions when approached by police officers and the fact that he had just left a building known for cocaine traffic, the officers decided to investigate further and ordered respondent to submit to a patdown search. The search revealed no weapons, but the officer conducting it testified that he felt a small lump in respondent’s jacket pocket, believed it to be a lump of crack cocaine upon examining it with his fingers, and then reached into the pocket and retrieved a small bag of cocaine. The state trial court denied respondent’s motion to suppress the cocaine, and he was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed. In affirming, the State Supreme Court held that both the stop and the frisk of respondent were valid under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, but found the seizure of the cocaine to be unconstitutional. Refusing to enlarge the “plain-view” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, the court appeared to adopt a categorical rule barring the seizure of any contraband detected by an officer through the sense of touch during a patdown search. The court further noted that, even if it recognized such a “plain-feel” exception, the search in this case would not qualify because it went far beyond what is permissible under Terry.


1. The police may seize nonthreatening contraband detected through the sense of touch during a protective patdown search of the sort permitted by Terry, so long as the search stays within the bounds marked by Terry. pp.372-377.

(a) Terry permits a brief stop of a person whose suspicious conduct leads an officer to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot, and a patdown search of the person for weapons when the officer is justified in believing that the person may be armed and presently dangerous. This protective search-permitted without a warrant and on the basis of reasonable suspicion less than probable cause-is not meant to discover evidence of crime, but must be strictly limited to that which is necessary for the discovery of weapons which might be used to harm the officer or others. If the protective search goes beyond what is necessary to determine if the suspect is armed, it


is no longer valid under Terry and its fruits will be suppressed. Sibron v. New York, 392 U. S. 40, 65-66. pp. 372-373.

(b) In Michigan v. Long, 463 U. S. 1032, 1050, the seizure of contraband other than weapons during a lawful Terry search was justified by reference to the Court’s cases under the “plain-view” doctrine. That doctrine-which permits police to seize an object without a warrant if they are lawfully in a position to view it, if its incriminating character is immediately apparent, and if they have a lawful right of access to it-has an obvious application by analogy to cases in which an officer discovers contraband through the sense of touch during an otherwise lawful search. Thus, if an officer lawfully pats down a suspect’s outer clothing and feels an object whose contour or mass makes its identity immediately apparent, there has been no invasion of the suspect’s privacy beyond that already authorized by the officer’s search for weapons. Cf., e. g., Illinois v. Andreas, 463 U. S. 765, 771. If the object is contraband, its warrantless seizure would be justified by the realization that resort to a neutral magistrate under such circumstances would be impracticable and would do little to promote the Fourth Amendment’s objectives. Cf., e. g., Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U. S. 321, 326-327. Pp. 374-377.

2. Application of the foregoing principles to the facts of this case demonstrates that the officer who conducted the search was not acting within the lawful bounds marked by Terry at the time he gained probable cause to believe that the lump in respondent’s jacket was contraband. Under the State Supreme Court’s interpretation of the record, the officer never thought that the lump was a weapon, but did not immediately recognize it as cocaine. Rather, he determined that it was contraband only after he squeezed, slid, and otherwise manipulated the pocket’s contents. While Terry entitled him to place his hands on respondent’s jacket and to feel the lump in the pocket, his continued exploration of the pocket after he concluded that it contained no weapon was unrelated to the sole justification for the search under Terry. Because this further search was constitutionally invalid, the seizure of the cocaine that followed is likewise unconstitutional. Pp. 377-379.

481 N. W. 2d 840, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court with respect to Parts I and II, and the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts III and IV, in which STEVENS, O’CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 379. REHNQUIST, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which BLACKMUN and THOMAS, JJ., joined, post, p. 383.

Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567 (1988)


Observing the approach of a police car on routine patrol, respondent began to run. The police followed him “to see where he was going,” and, after catching up with him and driving alongside him for a short distance, observed him discarding a number of packets. Surmising that the pills subsequently discovered in the packets contained codeine, the police arrested him and, after a search of his person revealed other drugs and a hypodermic needle, charged him with possession of controlled substances in violation of Michigan law. At a preliminary hearing, a Magistrate dismissed the charges on the ground that respondent had been unlawfully seized during the police pursuit preceding his disposal of the packets. The trial court upheld the dismissal, and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed. Applying state precedents interpreting the Fourth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, the latter court ruled that any “investigatory pursuit” amounts to a seizure under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, since the defendant’s freedom is restricted as soon as the officers begin their pursuit. The court also concluded that respondent’s flight from the police was insufficient, by itself, to give rise to the particularized suspicion necessary to justify this kind of seizure.

Held: The officers’ pursuit of respondent did not constitute a “seizure” implicating Fourth Amendment protections. Thus, the charges against him were improperly dismissed. Pp.  486 U. S. 572-576.

(a) No bright-line rule applicable to all investigatory pursuits can be fashioned. Rather, the appropriate test is whether a reasonable man, viewing the particular police conduct as a whole and within the setting of all of the surrounding circumstances, would have concluded that the police had in some way restrained his liberty so that he was not free to leave. Pp.  486 U. S. 572-574.

(b) Under this test, respondent was not “seized” before he discarded the drug packets. One officer’s characterization of the police conduct as a “chase,” standing alone, is insufficient to implicate the Fourth Amendment, since the police conduct — which consisted of a brief acceleration to catch up with respondent, followed by a short drive alongside him — would not have communicated to the reasonable person an attempt to capture him or otherwise intrude on his freedom of movement. The record does not reflect that the police activated a siren or flashers; commanded respondent to halt or displayed any weapons; or operated the 

Page 486 U. S. 568

car aggressively to block his course or to control his direction or speed. Thus, the police conduct was not so intimidating that respondent could reasonably have believed that he was not free to disregard the police presence and go about his business. The police therefore were not required to have a particularized and objective basis for suspecting him of criminal activity in order to pursue him. Pp.  486 U. S. 574-576.

157 Mich. App. 181, 403 N.W.2d 74, reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined. 

Page 486 U. S. 569

Maryland v. King, 569 U.S. 435 (2013)



certiorari to the court of appeals of maryland

No. 12–207. Argued February 26, 2013—Decided June 3, 2013

After his 2009 arrest on first- and second-degree assault charges, respondent King was processed through a Wicomico County, Maryland, facility, where booking personnel used a cheek swab to take a DNA sample pursuant to the Maryland DNA Collection Act (Act). The swab was matched to an unsolved 2003 rape, and King was charged with that crime. He moved to suppress the DNA match, arguing that the Act violated the Fourth Amendment, but the Circuit Court Judge found the law constitutional. King was convicted of rape. The Maryland Court of Appeals set aside the conviction, finding unconstitutional the portions of the Act authorizing DNA collection from felony arrestees. 

Held: When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 3–28.

(a) DNA testing may “significantly improve both the criminal justice system and police investigative practices,” District Attorney’s Office for Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne, 557 U.S. 52, 55, by making it “possible to determine whether a biological tissue matches a suspect with near certainty,” id., at 62. Maryland’s Act authorizes law enforcement authorities to collect DNA samples from, as relevant here, persons charged with violent crimes, including first-degree assault. A sample may not be added to a database before an individual is arraigned, and it must be destroyed if, e.g., he is not convicted. Only identity information may be added to the database. Here, the officer collected a DNA sample using the common “buccal swab” procedure, which is quick and painless, requires no “surgical intrusio[n] beneath the skin,” Winston v. Lee,470 U.S. 753, 760, and poses no threat to the arrestee’s “health or safety,” id., at 763. Respondent’s identification as the rapist resulted in part through the operation of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which connects DNA laboratories at the local, state, and national level, and which standardizes the points of comparison, i.e., loci, used in DNA analysis. Pp. 3–7.

(b) The framework for deciding the issue presented is well established. Using a buccal swab inside a person’s cheek to obtain a DNA sample is a search under the Fourth Amendment. And the fact that the intrusion is negligible is of central relevance to determining whether the search is reasonable, “the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search,” Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, 652. Because the need for a warrant is greatly diminished here, where the arrestee was already in valid police custody for a serious offense supported by probable cause, the search is analyzed by reference to “reasonableness, not individualized suspicion,” Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843, 855, n. 4, and reasonableness is determined by weighing “the promotion of legitimate governmental interests” against “the degree to which [the search] intrudes upon an individual’s privacy,” Wyoming v. Houghton, 526 U.S. 295, 300. Pp. 7–10.

(c) In this balance of reasonableness, great weight is given to both the significant government interest at stake in the identification of arrestees and DNA identification’s unmatched potential to serve that interest. Pp. 10–23.

(1) The Act serves a well-established, legitimate government interest: the need of law enforcement officers in a safe and accurate way to process and identify persons and possessions taken into custody. “[P]robable cause provides legal justification for arresting a [suspect], and for a brief period of detention to take the administrative steps incident to arrest,” Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 113–114; and the “validity of the search of a person incident to a lawful arrest” is settled, United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 224. Individual suspicion is not necessary. The “routine administrative procedure[s] at a police station house incident to booking and jailing the suspect” have different origins and different constitutional justifications than, say, the search of a place not incident to arrest, Illinois v. Lafayette, 462 U.S. 640, 643, which depends on the “fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place,” Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238. And when probable cause exists to remove an individual from the normal channels of society and hold him in legal custody, DNA identification plays a critical role in serving those interests. First, the government has an interest in properly identifying “who has been arrested and who is being tried.” Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., Humboldt Cty., 542 U.S. 177, 191. Criminal history is critical to officers who are processing a suspect for detention. They already seek identity information through routine and accepted means: comparing booking photographs to sketch artists’ depictions, showing mugshots to potential witnesses, and comparing fingerprints against electronic databases of known criminals and unsolved crimes. The only difference between DNA analysis and fingerprint databases is the unparalleled accuracy DNA provides. DNA is another metric of identification used to connect the arrestee with his or her public persona, as reflected in records of his or her actions that are available to the police. Second, officers must ensure that the custody of an arrestee does not create inordinate “risks for facility staff, for the existing detainee population, and for a new detainee.”  Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, 566 U. S. ___, ___. DNA allows officers to know the type of person being detained. Third, “the Government has a substantial interest in ensuring that persons accused of crimes are available for trials.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 534. An arrestee may be more inclined to flee if he thinks that continued contact with the criminal justice system may expose another serious offense. Fourth, an arrestee’s past conduct is essential to assessing the danger he poses to the public, which will inform a court’s bail determination. Knowing that the defendant is wanted for a previous violent crime based on DNA identification may be especially probative in this regard. Finally, in the interests of justice, identifying an arrestee as the perpetrator of some heinous crime may have the salutary effect of freeing a person wrongfully imprisoned. Pp. 10–18.

(2) DNA identification is an important advance in the techniques long used by law enforcement to serve legitimate police concerns. Police routinely have used scientific advancements as standard procedures for identifying arrestees. Fingerprinting, perhaps the most direct historical analogue to DNA technology, has, from its advent, been viewed as a natural part of “the administrative steps incident to arrest.”  County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 58. However, DNA identification is far superior. The additional intrusion upon the arrestee’s privacy beyond that associated with fingerprinting is not significant, and DNA identification is markedly more accurate. It may not be as fast as fingerprinting, but rapid fingerprint analysis is itself of recent vintage, and the question of how long it takes to process identifying information goes to the efficacy of the search for its purpose of prompt identification, not the constitutionality of the search. Rapid technical advances are also reducing DNA processing times. Pp. 18–23.

(d) The government interest is not outweighed by respondent’s privacy interests. Pp. 23–28.

(1) By comparison to the substantial government interest and the unique effectiveness of DNA identification, the intrusion of a cheek swab to obtain a DNA sample is minimal. Reasonableness must be considered in the context of an individual’s legitimate privacy expectations, which necessarily diminish when he is taken into police custody.  Bell, supra, at 557. Such searches thus differ from the so-called special needs searches of, e.g., otherwise law-abiding motorists at checkpoints. See Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32. The reasonableness inquiry considers two other circumstances in which particularized suspicion is not categorically required: “diminished expectations of privacy [and a] minimal intrusion.”  Illinois v. McArthur,531 U.S. 326, 330. An invasive surgery may raise privacy concerns weighty enough for the search to require a warrant, notwithstanding the arrestee’s diminished privacy expectations, but a buccal swab, which involves a brief and minimal intrusion with “virtually no risk, trauma, or pain,” Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 771, does not increase the indignity already attendant to normal incidents of arrest. Pp. 23–26.

(2) The processing of respondent’s DNA sample’s CODIS loci also did not intrude on his privacy in a way that would make his DNA identification unconstitutional. Those loci came from noncoding DNA parts that do not reveal an arrestee’s genetic traits and are unlikely to reveal any private medical information. Even if they could provide such information, they are not in fact tested for that end. Finally, the Act provides statutory protections to guard against such invasions of privacy. Pp. 26–28.

425 Md. 550, 42 A.3d 549, reversed.

Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Thomas, Breyer, and Alito, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined.

Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113 (1998)


No. 97-7597. Argued November 3, 1998-Decided December 8,1998

An Iowa policeman stopped petitioner Knowles for speeding and issued him a citation rather than arresting him. The officer then conducted a full search of the car, without either Knowles’ consent or probable cause, found marijuana and a “pot pipe,” and arrested Knowles. Before his trial on state drug charges, Knowles moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that because he had not been arrested, the search could not be sustained under the “search incident to arrest” exception recognized in United States v. Robinson, 414 U. S. 218. The trial court denied the motion and found Knowles guilty, based on state law giving officers authority to conduct a full-blown search of an automobile and driver where they issue a citation instead of making a custodial arrest. In affirming, the State Supreme Court applied its bright-line “search incident to citation” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, reasoning that so long as the officer had probable cause to make a custodial arrest, there need not in fact have been an arrest.

Held: The search at issue, authorized as it was by state law, nonetheless violates the Fourth Amendment. Neither of the two historical exceptions for the “search incident to arrest” exception, see Robinson, supra, at 234, is sufficient to justify the search in the present case. First, the threat to officer safety from issuing a traffic citation is a good deal less than in the case of a custodial arrest. While concern for safety during a routine traffic stop may justify the “minimal” additional intrusion of ordering a driver and passengers out of the car, it does not by itself justify the often considerably greater intrusion attending a full fieldtype search. Even without the search authority Iowa urges, officers have other, independent bases to search for weapons and protect themselves from danger. Second, the need to discover and preserve evidence does not exist in a traffic stop, for once Knowles was stopped for speeding and issued a citation, all evidence necessary to prosecute that offense had been obtained. Iowa’s argument that a “search incident to citation” is justified because a suspect may try to hide evidence of his identity or of other crimes is unpersuasive. An officer may arrest a driver if he is not satisfied with the identification furnished, and the possibility that an officer would stumble onto evidence of an unrelated offense seems remote. Pp. 116-119.

569 N. W. 2d 601, reversed and remanded.


REHNQUIST, C. J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Paul Rosenberg argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Maria Ruhtenberg.

Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General of Iowa, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Elizabeth M. Osenbaugh, Solicitor General. *

CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

An Iowa police officer stopped petitioner Knowles for speeding, but issued him a citation rather than arresting him. The question presented is whether such a procedure authorizes the officer, consistently with the Fourth Amendment, to conduct a full search of the car. We answer this question “no.”

Knowles was stopped in Newton, Iowa, after having been clocked driving 43 miles per hour on a road where the speed limit was 25 miles per hour. The police officer issued a citation to Knowles, although under Iowa law he might have arrested him. The officer then conducted a full search of the car, and under the driver’s seat he found a bag of marijuana and a “pot pipe.” Knowles was then arrested and charged with violation of state laws dealing with controlled substances.

Before trial, Knowles moved to suppress the evidence so obtained. He argued that the search could not be sustained under the “search incident to arrest” exception recognized in United States v. Robinson, 414 U. S. 218 (1973), because he had not been placed under arrest. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, the police officer conceded that he had

James J. Tomkovicz, Steven R. Shapiro, Susan N. Herman, and Lisa B. Kemler filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. as amici curiae urging reversal.

Stephen R. McSpadden filed a brief for the National Association of Police Organizations, Inc., as amicus curiae urging affirmance.

Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)


Petitioner was convicted under an indictment charging him with transmitting wagering information by telephone across state lines in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1084. Evidence of petitioner’s end of the conversations, overheard by FBI agents who had attached an electronic listening and recording device to the outside of the telephone booth from which the calls were made, was introduced at the trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, finding that there was no Fourth Amendment violation, since there was “no physical entrance into the area occupied by” petitioner.


1. The Government’s eavesdropping activities violated the privacy upon which petitioner justifiably relied while using the telephone booth, and thus constituted a “search and seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Pp.  389 U. S. 350-353.

(a) The Fourth Amendment governs not only the seizure of tangible items, but extends as well to the recording of oral statements.  Silverman v. United States, 365 U. S. 505,  365 U. S. 511. P.  389 U. S. 353.

(b) Because the Fourth Amendment protects people, rather than places, its reach cannot turn on the presence or absence of a physical intrusion into any given enclosure. The “trespass” doctrine of Olmstead v. United States, 277 U. S. 438, and Goldman v. United States, 316 U. S. 129, is no longer controlling. Pp.  389 U. S. 351,  389 U. S. 353.

2. Although the surveillance in this case may have been so narrowly circumscribed that it could constitutionally have been authorized in advance, it was not in fact conducted pursuant to the warrant procedure which is a constitutional precondition of such electronic surveillance. Pp.  389 U. S. 354-359.

369 F.2d 130, reversed. 

Page 389 U. S. 348

Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (2000)




No. 98-1036. Argued November 2, 1999-Decided January 12,2000

Respondent Wardlow fled upon seeing a caravan of police vehicles converge on an area of Chicago known for heavy narcotics trafficking. When Officers Nolan and Harvey caught up with him on the street, Nolan stopped him and conducted a protective patdown search for weapons because in his experience there were usually weapons in the vicinity of narcotics transactions. Discovering a handgun, the officers arrested Wardlow. The Illinois trial court denied his motion to suppress, finding the gun was recovered during a lawful stop and frisk. He was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. In reversing, the State Appellate Court found that Nolan did not have reasonable suspicion to make the stop under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1. The State Supreme Court affirmed, determining that sudden flight in a high crime area does not create a reasonable suspicion justifying a Terry stop because flight may simply be an exercise of the right to “go on one’s way,” see Florida v. Royer, 460 U. S. 491.

Held: The officers’ actions did not violate the Fourth Amendment. This case, involving a brief encounter between a citizen and a police officer on a public street, is governed by Terry, under which an officer who has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot may conduct a brief, investigatory stop. While “reasonable suspicion” is a less demanding standard than probable cause, there must be at least a minimal level of objective justification for the stop. An individual’s presence in a “high crime area,” standing alone, is not enough to support a reasonable, particularized suspicion of criminal activity, but a location’s characteristics are relevant in determining whether the circumstances are sufficiently suspicious to warrant further investigation, Adams v. Williams, 407 U. S. 143,144,147-148. In this case, moreover, it was also Wardlow’s unprovoked flight that aroused the officers’ suspicion. Nervous, evasive behavior is another pertinent factor in determining reasonable suspicion, e. g., United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. 873, 885, and headlong flight is the consummate act of evasion. In reviewing the propriety of an officer’s conduct, courts do not have available empirical studies dealing with inferences from suspicious behavior, and this Court cannot reasonably demand scientific certainty when none exists. Thus, the reasonable suspicion determination must be based on commonsense judgments and inferences about human behavior. See



United States v. Cortez, 449 U. S. 411,418. Officer Nolan was justified in suspecting that Wardlow was involved in criminal activity, and, therefore, in investigating further. Such a holding is consistent with the decision in Florida v. Royer, supra, at 498, that an individual, when approached, has a right to ignore the police and go about his business. Unprovoked flight is the exact opposite of “going about one’s business.” While flight is not necessarily indicative of ongoing criminal activity, Terry recognized that officers can detain individuals to resolve ambiguities in their conduct, 392 U. S., at 30, and thus accepts the risk that officers may stop innocent people. If they do not learn facts rising to the level of probable cause, an individual must be allowed to go on his way. But in this case the officers found that Wardlow possessed a handgun and arrested him for violating a state law. The propriety of that arrest is not before the Court. pp. 123-126.

183 Ill. 2d 306, 701 N. E. 2d 484, reversed and remanded.

REHNQUIST, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O’CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, and THOMAS, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ., joined, post, p. 126.

Richard A. Devine argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were James E. Ryan, Attorney General of Illinois, Joel D. Bertocchi, Solicitor General, Renee G. Goldfarb, Theodore Fotios Burtzos, and Veronica Ximena Calderon.

Malcolm L. Stewart argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Waxman, Assistant Attorney General Robinson, Deputy Solicitor General Dreeben, and Deborah Watson.

James B. Koch argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Lynn N. Weisberg and Thomas G. Gardiner. *

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of Ohio et al. by Betty D. Montgomery, Attorney General of Ohio, Edward B. Foley, State Solicitor, Robert C. Maier and Alejandro Almaguer, Assistant Solicitors, and Thomas R. Keller, Acting Attorney General of Hawaii, and by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Bill Pryor of Alabama, Ken Salazar of Colorado, M. Jane Brady of Delaware,

Illinois v. Lafayette, 462 U.S. 640 (1983)


After respondent was arrested for disturbing the peace, he was taken to the police station. There, without obtaining a warrant and in the process of booking him and inventorying his possessions, the police removed the contents of a shoulder bag respondent had been carrying, and found amphetamine pills. Respondent was subsequently charged with violating the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and, at a pretrial hearing, the trial court ordered suppression of the pills. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the shoulder bag search did not constitute a valid search incident to a lawful arrest or a valid inventory search of respondent’s belongings.

Held: The search of respondent’s shoulder bag was a valid inventory search. Pp.  462 U. S. 643-648.

(a) Consistent with the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for police to search the personal effects of a person under lawful arrest as part of the routine administrative procedure at a police station incident to booking and jailing the suspect. The justification for such searches does not rest on probable cause, and hence the absence of a warrant is immaterial to the reasonableness of the search. Here, every consideration of orderly police administration — protection of a suspect’s property, deterrence of false claims of theft against the police, security, and identification of the suspect — benefiting both the police and the public points toward the appropriateness of the examination of respondent’s shoulder bag. Pp.  462 U. S. 643-647.

(b) The fact that the protection of the public and of respondent’s property might have been achieved by less intrusive means does not, in itself, render the search unreasonable. Even if some less intrusive means existed, it would be unreasonable to expect police officers in the everyday course of business to make fine and subtle distinctions in deciding which containers or items may be searched, and which must be sealed without examination as a unit. Pp.  462 U. S. 647-648.

99 Ill.App.3d 830, 425 N.E.2d 1383, reversed and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, STEVENS, and O’CONNOR, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p.  462 U. S. 649

Page 462 U. S. 641

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