Fourth Amendment: Search And Seizure
History and Scope of the Amendment History.-Few provisions of the Bill of Rights grew so directly out of the experience of the colonials as the Fourth Amendment, embodying as it did the protection against the utilization of the "writs of assistance." But while the insistence on freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures as a fundamental right gained expression in the Colonies late and as a result of experience,
there was also a rich English experience to draw on. "Every man's house is his castle" was a maxim much celebrated in England, as was demonstrated in Semayne's Case, decided in 1603. A civil case of execution of process, Semayne's Case nonetheless recognized the right of the homeowner to defend his house against unlawful entry even by the King's agents, but at the same time recognized the authority of the appropriate officers to break and enter upon notice in order to arrest or to execute the King's process. Most famous of the English cases was Entick v. Carrington, one of a series of civil actions against state officers who, pursuant to general warrants, had raided many homes and other places in search of materials connected with John Wilkes' polemical pamphlets attacking not only governmental policies but the King himself.
Entick, an associate of Wilkes, sued because agents had forcibly broken into his house, broken into locked desks and boxes, and seized many printed charts, pamphlets and the like. In an opinion sweeping in terms, the court declared the warrant and the behavior it authorized subversive "of all the comforts of society," and the issuance of a warrant for the seizure of all of a person's papers rather than only those alleged to be criminal in nature "contrary to the genius of the law of England." Besides its general character, said the court, the warrant was bad because it was not issued on a showing of probable cause and no record was required to be made of what had been seized. Entick v. Carrington, the Supreme Court has said, is a "great judgment," "one of the landmarks of English liberty," "one of the permanent monuments of the British Constitution," and a guide to an understanding of what the Framers meant in writing the Fourth Amendment.
In the colonies, smuggling rather than seditious libel afforded the leading examples of the necessity for protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to enforce the revenue laws, English authorities made use of writs of assistance, which were general warrants authorizing the bearer to enter any house or other place to search for and seize "prohibited and uncustomed" goods, and commanding all subjects to assist in these endeavors. The writs once issued remained in force throughout the lifetime of the sovereign and six months thereafter. When, upon the death of George II in 1760, the authorities were required to obtain the issuance of new writs, opposition was led by James Otis, who attacked such writs on libertarian grounds and who asserted the invalidity of the authorizing statutes because they conflicted with English constitutionalism. Otis lost and the writs were issued and utilized, but his arguments were much cited in the colonies not only on the immediate subject but also with regard to judicial review.
Scope of the Amendment.-The language of the provision which became the Fourth Amendment underwent some modest changes on its passage through the Congress, and it is possible that the changes reflected more than a modest significance in the interpretation of the relationship of the two clauses. Madison's introduced version provided "The rights to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized." As reported from committee, with an inadvertent omission corrected on the floor, the section was almost identical to the introduced version, and the House defeated a motion to substitute "and no warrant shall issue" for "by warrants issuing" in the committee draft. In some fashion, the rejected amendment was inserted in the language before passage by the House and is the language of the ratified constitutional provision.
As noted above, the noteworthy disputes over search and seizure in England and the colonies revolved about the character of warrants. There were, however, lawful warrantless searches, primarily searches incident to arrest, and these apparently gave rise to no disputes. Thus, the question arises whether the Fourth Amendment's two clauses must be read together to mean that the only searches and seizures which are "reasonable" are those which meet the requirements of the second clause, that is, are pursuant to warrants issued under the prescribed safeguards, or whether the two clauses are independent, so that searches under warrant must comply with the second clause but that there are "reasonable" searches under the first clause which need not comply with the second clause. This issue has divided the Court for some time, has seen several reversals of precedents, and is important for the resolution of many cases. It is a dispute which has run most consistently throughout the cases involving the scope of the right to search incident to arrest. While the right to search the person of the arrestee without a warrant is unquestioned, how far afield into areas within and without the control of the arrestee a search may range is an interesting and crucial matter.
The Court has drawn a wavering line. In Harris v. United States, it approved as "reasonable" the warrantless search of a four-room apartment pursuant to the arrest of the man found there. A year later, however, a reconstituted Court majority set aside a conviction based on evidence seized by a warrantless search pursuant to an arrest and adopted the "cardinal rule that, in seizing goods and articles, law enforcement agents must secure and use search warrants wherever reasonably practicable." This rule was set aside two years later by another reconstituted majority which adopted the premise that the test "is not whether it is reasonable to procure a search warrant, but whether the search was reasonable." Whether a search is reasonable, the Court said, "must find resolution in the facts and circumstances of each case." However, the Court soon returned to its emphasis upon the warrant. "The [Fourth] Amendment was in large part a reaction to the general warrants and warrantless searches that had so alienated the colonists and had helped speed the movement for independence. In the scheme of the Amendment, therefore, the requirement that 'no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,' plays a crucial part." Therefore, "the police must, whenever practicable, obtain advance judicial approval of searches and seizures through a warrant procedure." Exceptions to searches under warrants were to be closely contained by the rationale undergirding the necessity for the exception, and the scope of a search under one of the exceptions was similarly limited.
During the 1970s the Court was closely divided on which standard to apply. For a while, the balance tipped in favor of the view that warrantless searches are per se unreasonable, with a few carefully prescribed exceptions. Gradually, guided by the variable expectation of privacy approach to coverage of the Fourth Amendment, the Court broadened its view of permissible exceptions and of the scope of those exceptions.
By 1992, it was no longer the case that the "warrants-with-narrow-exceptions" standard normally prevails over a "reasonableness" approach. Exceptions to the warrant requirement have multiplied, tending to confine application of the requirement to cases that are exclusively "criminal" in nature. And even within that core area of "criminal" cases, some exceptions have been broadened. The most important category of exception is that of administrative searches justified by "special needs beyond the normal need for law enforcement." Under this general rubric the Court has upheld warrantless searches by administrative authorities in public schools, government offices, and prisons, and has upheld drug testing of public and transportation employees. In all of these instances the warrant and probable cause requirements are dispensed with in favor of a reasonableness standard that balances the government's regulatory interest against the individual's privacy interest; in all of these instances the government's interest has been found to outweigh the individual's. The broad scope of the administrative search exception is evidenced by the fact that an overlap between law enforcement objectives and administrative "special needs" does not result in application of the warrant requirement; instead, the Court has upheld warrantless inspection of automobile junkyards and dismantling operations in spite of the strong law enforcement component of the regulation. In the law enforcement context, where search by warrant is still the general rule, there has also been some loosening of the requirement. For example, the Court has shifted focus from whether exigent circumstances justified failure to obtain a warrant, to whether an officer had a "reasonable" belief that an exception to the warrant requirement applied; in another case the scope of a valid search "incident to arrest," once limited to areas within the immediate reach of the arrested suspect, was expanded to a "protective sweep" of the entire home if arresting officers have a reasonable belief that the home harbors an individual who may pose a danger.
Another matter of scope recently addressed by the Court is the category of persons protected by the Fourth Amendment-who constitutes "the people." This phrase, the Court determined, "refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with [the United States] to be considered part of that community." The Fourth Amendment therefore does not apply to the search and seizure by United States agents of property that is owned by a nonresident alien and located in a foreign country. The community of protected people includes U.S. citizens who go abroad, and aliens who have voluntarily entered U.S. territory and developed substantial connections with this country. There is no resulting broad principle, however, that the Fourth Amendment constrains federal officials wherever and against whomever they act.
The Interest Protected.-For the Fourth Amendment to be applicable to a particular set of facts, there must be a "search" and a "seizure," occurring typically in a criminal case, with a subsequent attempt to use judicially what was seized. Whether there was a search and seizure within the meaning of the Amendment, whether a complainant's interests were constitutionally infringed, will often turn upon consideration of his interest and whether it was officially abused. What does the Amendment protect? Under the common law, there was no doubt. Said Lord Camden in Entick v. Carrington. "The great end for which men entered in society was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. . . . By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass. No man can set foot upon my ground without my license but he is liable to an action though the damage be nothing . . . ." Protection of property interests as the basis of the Fourth Amendment found easy acceptance in the Supreme Court sand that acceptance controlled decision in numerous cases. For example, in Olmstead v. United States, one of the two premises underlying the holding that wiretapping was not covered by the Amendment was that there had been no actual physical invasion of the defendant's premises; where there had been an invasion, a technical trespass, electronic surveillance was deemed subject to Fourth Amendment restrictions.
The Court later rejected this approach, however. "The premise that property interests control the right of the Government to search and seize has been discredited. . . . We have recognized that the principal object of the Fourth Amendment is the protection of privacy rather than property, and have increasingly discarded fictional and procedural barriers rested on property concepts."
Thus, because the Amendment "protects people, not places," the requirement of actual physical trespass is dispensed with and electronic surveillance was made subject to the Amendment's requirements.
The test propounded in Katz is whether there is an expectation of privacy upon which one may "justifiably" rely. "What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected." That is, the "capacity to claim the protection of the Amendment depends not upon a property right in the invaded place but upon whether the area was one in which there was reasonable expectation of freedom from governmental intrusion."
Katz's focus on privacy was revitalized in Kyllo v. United States, in which the Court invalidated the warrantless use of a thermal imaging device directed at a private home from a public street. The rule devised by the Court to limit police use of new technology that can "shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy" is that "obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical 'intrusion into a constitutionally protected area' . . . constitutes a search - at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use." Relying on Katz, the Court rejected as "mechanical" the Government's attempted distinction between off-the-wall and through-the-wall surveillance. Permitting all off-the-wall observations, the Court observed, "would leave the homeowner at the mercy of advancing technology - including technology that could discern all human activity in the home."
While the sanctity of the home has been strongly reaffirmed, protection of privacy in other contexts becomes more problematic. The two-part test that Justice Harlan suggested in Katz often provides the starting point for analysis. The first element, the "subjective expectation" of privacy, has largely dwindled as a viable standard, because, as Justice Harlan noted in a subsequent case, "our expectations, and the risks we assume, are in large part reflections of laws that translate into rules the customs and values of the past and present." As for the second element, whether one has a "legitimate" expectation of privacy that society finds "reasonable" to recognize, the Court has said that "[l]egitimation of expectations of privacy by law must have a source outside of the Fourth Amendment, either by reference to concepts of real or personal property law or to understandings that are recognized and permitted by society." Thus, protection of the home is at the apex of Fourth Amendment coverage because of the right associated with ownership to exclude others; but ownership of other things, i.e., automobiles, does not carry a similar high degree of protection. That a person has taken normal precautions to maintain his privacy, that is, precautions customarily taken by those seeking to exclude others, is usually a significant factor in determining legitimacy of expectation. Some expectations, the Court has held, are simply not those which society is prepared to accept.
What seems to have emerged is a balancing standard that requires "an assessing of the nature of a particular practice and the likely extent of its impact on the individual's sense of security balanced against the utility of the conduct as a technique of law enforcement." While Justice Harlan saw a greater need to restrain police officers through the warrant requirement as the intrusions on individual privacy grow more extensive, the Court's solicitude for law enforcement objectives frequently tilts the balance in the other direction.
Application of this balancing test, because of the Court's weighing in of law enforcement investigative needs and the Court's subjective evaluation of privacy needs, has led to the creation of a two-tier or sliding-tier scale of privacy interests. The privacy test was originally designed to permit a determination that a Fourth Amendment protected interest had been invaded. If it had been, then ordinarily a warrant was required, subject only to the narrowly defined exceptions, and the scope of the search under those exceptions was "strictly tied to and justified by the circumstances which rendered its initiation permissible." But the Court now uses the test to determine whether the interest invaded is important or persuasive enough so that a warrant is required to justify it; if the individual has a lesser expectation of privacy, then the invasion may be justified, absent a warrant, by the reasonableness of the intrusion. Exceptions to the warrant requirement are no longer evaluated solely by the justifications for the exception, e.g., exigent circumstances, and the scope of the search is no longer tied to and limited by the justification for the exception.
The result has been a considerable expansion, beyond what existed prior to Katz, of the power of police and other authorities to conduct searches.
Arrests and Other Detentions.-That the Fourth Amendment was intended to protect against arbitrary arrests as well as against unreasonable searches was early assumed by Chief Justice Marshall and is now established law. At common law, warrantless arrests of persons who had committed a breach of the peace or a felony were permitted, and this history is reflected in the fact that the Fourth Amendment is satisfied if the arrest is made in a public place on probable cause, regardless of whether a warrant has been obtained. However, in order to effectuate an arrest in the home, absent consent or exigent circumstances, police officers must have a warrant. The Fourth Amendment applies to "seizures" and it is not necessary that a detention be a formal arrest in order to bring to bear the requirements of warrants or probable cause in instances in which warrants may be forgone. Some objective justification must be shown to validate all seizures of the person, including seizures that involve only a brief detention short of arrest, although the nature of the detention will determine whether probable cause or some reasonable and articulable suspicion is necessary.
The Fourth Amendment does not require an officer to consider whether to issue a citation rather than arresting (and placing in custody) a person who has committed a minor offense - even a minor traffic offense. In Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, the Court, even while acknowledging that the case before it involved "gratuitous humiliations imposed by a police officer who was (at best) exercising extremely poor judgment," refused to require that "caseby-case determinations of government need" to place traffic offenders in custody be subjected to a reasonableness inquiry, "lest every discretionary judgment in the field be converted into an occasion for constitutional review." Citing some state statutes that limit warrantless arrests for minor offenses, the Court contended that the matter is better left to statutory rule than to application of broad constitutional principle. Thus, Atwater and County of Riverside v. McLaughlin together mean that - as far as the Constitution is concerned - police officers have almost unbridled discretion to decide whether to issue a summons for a minor traffic offense or whether instead to place the offending motorist in jail, where she may be kept for up to 48 hours with little recourse.
Until relatively recently, the legality of arrests was seldom litigated in the Supreme Court because of the rule that a person detained pursuant to an arbitrary seizure-unlike evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful search-remains subject to custody and presentation to court. But the application of self-incrimination and other exclusionary rules to the States and the heightening of their scope in state and federal cases alike brought forth the rule that verbal evidence, confessions, and other admissions, like all derivative evidence obtained as a result of unlawful seizures, could be excluded. Thus, a confession made by one illegally in custody must be suppressed, unless the causal connection between the illegal arrest and the confession had become so attenuated that the latter should not be deemed "tainted" by the former. Similarly, fingerprints and other physical evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest must be suppressed.
Searches and Inspections in Noncriminal Cases.-Certain early cases held that the Fourth Amendment was applicable only when a search was undertaken for criminal investigatory purposes, and the Supreme Court until recently employed a reasonableness test for such searches without requiring either a warrant or probable cause in the absence of a warrant. But in 1967, the Court held in two cases that administrative inspections to detect building code violations must be undertaken pursuant to warrant if the occupant objects. "We may agree that a routine inspection of the physical condition of private property is a less hostile intrusion than the typical policeman's search for the fruits and instrumentalities of crime. . . . But we cannot agree that the Fourth Amendment interests at stake in these inspection cases are merely 'peripheral.' It is surely anomalous to say that the individual and his private property are fully protected by the Fourth Amendment only when the individual is suspected of criminal behavior." Certain administrative inspections utilized to enforce regulatory schemes with regard to such items as alcohol and firearms are, however, exempt from the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement and may be authorized simply by statute.
Camara and See were reaffirmed in Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., in which the Court held violative of the Fourth Amendment a provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act which authorized federal inspectors to search the work area of any employment facility covered by the Act for safety hazards and violations of regulations, without a warrant or other legal process. The liquor and firearms exceptions were distinguished on the basis that those industries had a long tradition of close government supervision, so that a person in those businesses gave up his privacy expectations. But OSHA was a relatively recent statute and it regulated practically every business in or affecting interstate commerce; it was not open to a legislature to extend regulation and then follow it with warrantless inspections. Additionally, OSHA inspectors had unbounded discretion in choosing which businesses to inspect and when to do so, leaving businesses at the mercy of possibly arbitrary actions and certainly with no assurances as to limitation on scope and standards of inspections. Further, warrantless inspections were not necessary to serve an important governmental interest, inasmuch as most businesses would consent to inspection and it was not inconvenient to require OSHA to resort to an administrative warrant in order to inspect sites where consent was refused.
In Donovan v. Dewey, however, Barlow's was substantially limited and a new standard emerged permitting extensive governmental inspection of commercial property, absent warrants. Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, governing underground and surface mines (including stone quarries), federal officers are directed to inspect underground mines at least four times a year and surface mines at least twice a year, pursuant to extensive regulations as to standards of safety. The statute specifically provides for absence of advanced notice and requires the Secretary of Labor to institute court actions for injunctive and other relief in cases in which inspectors are denied admission. Sustaining the statute, the Court proclaimed that government had a "greater latitude" to conduct warrantless inspections of commercial property than of homes, because of "the fact that the expectation of privacy that the owner of commercial property enjoys in such property differs significantly from the sanctity accorded an individual's home, and that this privacy interest may, in certain circumstances, be adequately protected by regulatory schemes authorizing warrantless inspections."
Dewey was distinguished from Barlow's in several ways. First, Dewey involved a single industry, unlike the broad coverage in Barlow's. Second, the OSHA statute gave minimal direction to inspectors as to time, scope, and frequency of inspections, while FMSHA specified a regular number of inspections pursuant to standards. Third, deference was due Congress' determination that unannounced inspections were necessary if the safety laws were to be effectively enforced. Fourth, FMSHA provided businesses the opportunity to contest the search by resisting in the civil proceeding the Secretary had to bring if consent was denied. The standard of a long tradition of government supervision permitting warrantless inspections was dispensed with, because it would lead to "absurd results," in that new and emerging industries posing great hazards would escape regulation. Dewey suggests, therefore, that warrantless inspections of commercial establishments are permissible so long as the legislature carefully drafts its statute.
Dewey was applied in New York v. Burger to inspection of automobile junkyards and vehicle dismantling operations, a situation where there is considerable overlap between administrative and penal objectives. Applying the Dewey three-part test, the Court concluded that New York has a substantial interest in stemming the tide of automobile thefts, that regulation of vehicle dismantling reasonably serves that interest, and that statutory safeguards provided adequate substitute for a warrant requirement. The Court rejected the suggestion that the warrantless inspection provisions were designed as an expedient means of enforcing the penal laws, and instead saw narrower, valid regulatory purposes to be served: e.g., establishing a system for tracking stolen automobiles and parts, and enhancing the ability of legitimate businesses to compete. "[A] State can address a major social problem both by way of an administrative scheme and through penal sanctions," the Court declared; in such circumstances warrantless administrative searches are permissible in spite of the fact that evidence of criminal activity may well be uncovered in the process.
In other contexts, the Court has also elaborated the constitutional requirements affecting administrative inspections and searches. Thus, in Michigan v. Tyler, it subdivided the process by which an investigation of the cause of a fire may be conducted. Entry to fight the fire is, of course, an exception based on exigent circumstances, and no warrant or consent is needed; firemen on the scene may seize evidence relating to the cause under the plain view doctrine. Additional entries to investigate the cause of the fire must be made pursuant to warrant procedures governing administrative searches. Evidence of arson discovered in the course of such an administrative inspection is admissible at trial, but if the investigator finds probable cause to believe that arson has occurred and requires further access to gather evidence for a possible prosecution, he must obtain a criminal search warrant.
One curious case has approved a system of "home visits" by welfare caseworkers, in which the recipients are required to admit the worker or lose eligibility for benefits. In another unusual case, the Court held that a sheriff's assistance to a trailer park owner in disconnecting and removing a mobile home constituted a "seizure" of the home.
In addition, there are now a number of situations, some of them analogous to administrative searches, where "'special needs' beyond normal law enforcement . . . justify departures from the usual warrant and probable cause requirements." In one of these cases the Court, without acknowledging the magnitude of the leap from one context to another, has taken the Dewey/ Burger rationale-developed to justify warrantless searches of business establishments-and applied it to justify the significant intrusion into personal privacy represented by urinalysis drug testing. Because of the history of pervasive regulation of the railroad industry, the Court reasoned, railroad employees have a diminished expectation of privacy that makes mandatory urinalysis less intrusive and more reasonable.
With respect to automobiles, the holdings are mixed. Random stops of automobiles to check drivers' licenses, vehicle registrations, and safety conditions were condemned as too intrusive; the degree to which random stops would advance the legitimate governmental interests involved did not outweigh the individual's legitimate expectations of privacy. On the other hand, in South Dakota v. Opperman, the Court sustained the admission of evidence found when police impounded an automobile from a public street for multiple parking violations and entered the car to secure and inventory valuables for safekeeping. Marijuana was discovered in the glove compartment.
Searches and Seizures Pursuant to Warrant
Emphasis upon the necessity of warrants places the judgment of an independent magistrate between law enforcement officers and the privacy of citizens, authorizes invasion of that privacy only upon a showing that constitutes probable cause, and limits that invasion by specification of the person to be seized, the place to be searched, and the evidence to be sought. While a warrant is issued ex parte, its validity may be contested in a subsequent suppression hearing if incriminating evidence is found and a prosecution is brought.
Issuance by Neutral Magistrate.-In numerous cases, the Court has referred to the necessity that warrants be issued by a "judicial officer" or a "magistrate." "The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime. Any assumption that evidence sufficient to support a magistrate's disinterested determination to issue a search warrant will justify the officers in making a search without a warrant would reduce the Amendment to a nullity and leave the people's homes secure only in the discretion of police officers." These cases do not mean that only a judge or an official who is a lawyer may issue warrants, but they do stand for two tests of the validity of the power of the issuing party to so act. "He must be neutral and detached, and he must be capable of determining whether probable cause exists for the requested arrest or search." The first test cannot be met when the issuing party is himself engaged in law enforcement activities, but the Court has not required that an issuing party have that independence of tenure and guarantee of salary which characterizes federal judges. And in passing on the second test, the Court has been essentially pragmatic in assessing whether the issuing party possesses the capacity to determine probable cause.
Probable Cause.-The concept of "probable cause" is central to the meaning of the warrant clause. Neither the Fourth Amendment nor the federal statutory provisions relevant to the area define "probable cause;" the definition is entirely a judicial construct. An applicant for a warrant must present to the magistrate facts sufficient to enable the officer himself to make a determination of probable cause. "In determining what is probable cause . . . [w]e are concerned only with the question whether the affiant had reasonable grounds at the time of his affidavit . . . for the belief that the law was being violated on the premises to be searched; and if the apparent facts set out in the affidavit are such that a reasonably discreet and prudent man would be led to believe that there was a commission of the offense charged, there is probable cause justifying the issuance of a warrant." Probable cause is to be determined according to "the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act." Warrants are favored in the law and utilization of them will not be thwarted by a hypertechnical reading of the supporting affidavit and supporting testimony. For the same reason, reviewing courts will accept evidence of a less "judicially competent or persuasive character than would have justified an officer in acting on his own without a warrant." Courts will sustain the determination of probable cause so long as "there was substantial basis for [the magistrate] to conclude that" there was probable cause.
Much litigation has concerned the sufficiency of the complaint to establish probable cause. Mere conclusory assertions are not enough. In United States v. Ventresca, however, an affidavit by a law enforcement officer asserting his belief that an illegal distillery was being operated in a certain place, explaining that the belief was based upon his own observations and upon those of fellow investigators, and detailing a substantial amount of these personal observations clearly supporting the stated belief, was held to be sufficient to constitute probable cause. "Recital of some of the underlying circumstances in the affidavit is essential," the Court said, observing that "where these circumstances are detailed, where reason for crediting the source of the information is given, and when a magistrate has found probable cause," the reliance on the warrant process should not be deterred by insistence on too stringent a showing.
Requirements for establishing probable cause through reliance on information received from an informant has divided the Court in several cases. Although involving a warrantless arrest, Draper v. United States may be said to have begun the line of cases. A previously reliable, named informant reported to an officer that the defendant would arrive with narcotics on a particular train, and described the clothes he would be wearing and the bag he would be carrying; the informant, however, gave no basis for his information. FBI agents met the train, observed that the defendant fully answered the description, and arrested him. The Court held that the corroboration of part of the informer's tip established probable cause to support the arrest. A case involving a search warrant, Jones v. United States, apparently utilized a test of considering the affidavit as a whole to see whether the tip plus the corroborating information provided a substantial basis for finding probable cause, but the affidavit also set forth the reliability of the informer and sufficient detail to indicate that the tip was based on the informant's personal observation. Aguilar v. Texas held insufficient an affidavit which merely asserted that the police had "reliable information from a credible person" that narcotics were in a certain place, and held that when the affiant relies on an informant's tip he must present two types of evidence to the magistrate. First, the affidavit must indicate the informant's basis of knowledge-the circumstances from which the informant concluded that evidence was present or that crimes had been committed -and, second, the affiant must present information which would permit the magistrate to decide whether or not the informant was trustworthy. Then, in Spinelli v. United States, the Court applied Aguilar in a situation in which the affidavit contained both an informant's tip and police information of a corroborating nature.
The Court rejected the "totality" test derived from Jones and held that the informant's tip and the corroborating evidence must be separately considered. The tip was rejected because the affidavit contained neither any information which showed the basis of the tip nor any information which showed the informant's credibility. The corroborating evidence was rejected as insufficient because it did not establish any element of criminality but merely related to details which were innocent in themselves. No additional corroborating weight was due as a result of the bald police assertion that defendant was a known gambler, although the tip related to gambling. Returning to the totality test, however, the Court in United States v. Harris approved a warrant issued largely on an informer's tip that over a two-year period he had purchased illegal whiskey from the defendant at the defendant's residence, most recently within two weeks of the tip. The affidavit contained rather detailed information about the concealment of the whiskey, and asserted that the informer was a "prudent person," that defendant had a reputation as a bootlegger, that other persons had supplied similar information about him, and that he had been found in control of illegal whiskey within the previous four years. The Court determined that the detailed nature of the tip, the personal observation thus revealed, and the fact that the informer had admitted to criminal behavior by his purchase of whiskey were sufficient to enable the magistrate to find him reliable, and that the supporting evidence, including defendant's reputation, could supplement this determination.
The Court expressly abandoned the two-part Aguilar-Spinelli test and returned to the "totality of the circumstances" approach to evaluate probable cause based on an informant's tip in Illinois v. Gates. The main defect of the two-part test, Justice Rehnquist concluded for the Court, was in treating an informant's reliability and his basis for knowledge as independent requirements. Instead, "a deficiency in one may be compensated for, in determining the overall reliability of a tip, by a strong showing as to the other, or by some other indicia of reliability." In evaluating probable cause, "[t]he task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical, commonsense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before him, including the 'veracity' and 'basis of knowledge' of persons supplying hearsay information, there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place."
Particularity.-"The requirement that warrants shall particularly describe the things to be seized makes general searches under them impossible and prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another. As to what is to be taken, nothing is left to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant." This requirement thus acts to limit the scope of the search, inasmuch as the executing officers should be limited to looking in places where the described object could be expected to be found. The purpose of the particularity requirement extends beyond prevention of general searches; it also assures the person whose property is being searched of the lawful authority of the executing officer and of the limits of his power to search. It follows, therefore, that the warrant itself must describe with particularity the items to be seized, or that such itemization must appear in documents incorporated by reference in the warrant and actually shown to the person whose property is to be searched.
First Amendment Bearing on Probable Cause and Particularity.-Where the warrant process is used to authorize seizure of books and other items entitled either to First Amendment protection or to First Amendment consideration, the Court has required government to observe more exacting standards than in other cases. Seizure of materials arguably protected by the First Amendment is a form of prior restraint that requires strict observance of the Fourth Amendment. At a minimum, a warrant is required, and additional safeguards may be required for large-scale seizures. Thus, in Marcus v. Search Warrant, the seizure of 11,000 copies of 280 publications pursuant to warrant issued ex parte by a magistrate who had not examined any of the publications but who had relied on the conclusory affidavit of a policeman was voided. Failure to scrutinize the materials and to particularize the items to be seized was deemed inadequate, and it was further noted that police "were provided with no guide to the exercise of informed discretion, because there was no step in the procedure before seizure designed to focus searchingly on the question of obscenity." A state procedure which was designed to comply with Marcus by the presentation of copies of books to be seized to the magistrate for his scrutiny prior to issuance of a warrant was nonetheless found inadequate by a plurality of the Court, which concluded that "since the warrant here authorized the sheriff to seize all copies of the specified titles, and since [appellant] was not afforded a hearing on the question of the obscenity even of the seven novels [seven of 59 listed titles were reviewed by the magistrate] before the warrant issued, the procedure was . . . constitutionally deficient."
Confusion remains, however, about the necessity for and the character of prior adversary hearings on the issue of obscenity. In a later decision the Court held that, with adequate safeguards, no pre-seizure adversary hearing on the issue of obscenity is required if the film is seized not for the purpose of destruction as contraband (the purpose in Marcus and A Quantity of Books), but instead to preserve a copy for evidence. It is constitutionally permissible to seize a copy of a film pursuant to a warrant as long as there is a prompt post- seizure adversary hearing on the obscenity issue. Until there is a judicial determination of obscenity, the Court advised, the film may continue to be exhibited; if no other copy is available either a copy of it must be made from the seized film or the film itself must be returned.
The seizure of a film without the authority of a constitutionally sufficient warrant is invalid; seizure cannot be justified as incidental to arrest, inasmuch as the determination of obscenity may not be made by the officer himself. Nor may a warrant issue based "solely on the conclusory assertions of the police officer without any inquiry by the [magistrate] into the factual basis for the officer's conclusions." Instead, a warrant must be "supported by affidavits setting forth specific facts in order that the issuing magistrate may 'focus searchingly on the question of obscenity."' This does not mean, however, that a higher standard of probable cause is required in order to obtain a warrant to seize materials protected by the First Amendment. "Our reference in Roaden to a 'higher hurdle . . . of reasonableness' was not intended to establish a 'higher' standard of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant to seize books or films, but instead related to the more basic requirement, imposed by that decision, that the police not rely on the 'exigency' exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, but instead obtain a warrant from a magistrate . . . ."'
In Stanford v. Texas, a seizure of more than 2,000 books, pamphlets, and other documents pursuant to a warrant which merely authorized the seizure of books, pamphlets, and other written instruments "concerning the Communist Party of Texas" was voided. "[T] he constitutional requirement that warrants must particularly describe the 'things to be seized' is to be accorded the most scrupulous exactitude when the 'things' are books, and the basis for their seizure is the ideas which they contain. . . . No less a standard could be faithful to First Amendment freedoms."
However, the First Amendment does not bar the issuance or execution of a warrant to search a newsroom to obtain photographs of demonstrators who had injured several policemen, although the Court appeared to suggest that a magistrate asked to issue such a warrant should guard against interference with press freedoms through limits on type, scope, and intrusiveness of the search.
Property Subject to Seizure.-There has never been any doubt that search warrants could be issued for the seizure of contraband and the fruits and instrumentalities of crime. But in Gouled v. United States, a unanimous Court limited the classes of property subject to seizures to these three and refused to permit a seizure of "mere evidence," in this instance defendant's papers which were to be used as evidence against him at trial. The Court recognized that there was "no special sanctity in papers, as distinguished from other forms of property, to render them immune from search and seizure," but their character as evidence rendered them immune. This immunity "was based upon the dual, related premises that historically the right to search for and seize property depended upon the assertion by the Government of a valid claim of superior interest, and that it was not enough that the purpose of the search and seizure was to obtain evidence to use in apprehending and convicting criminals." More evaded than followed, the "mere evidence" rule was overturned in 1967. It is now settled that such evidentiary items as fingerprints, blood, urine samples, fingernail and skin scrapings, voice and handwriting exemplars, conversations, and other demonstrative evidence may be obtained through the warrant process or without a warrant if "special needs" of government are shown.
However, some medically assisted bodily intrusions have been held impermissible, e.g., forcible administration of an emetic to induce vomiting, and surgery under general anesthetic to remove a bullet lodged in a suspect's chest. Factors to be weighed in determining which medical tests and procedures are reasonable include the extent to which the procedure threatens the individual's safety or health, "the extent of the intrusion upon the individual's dignitary interests in personal privacy and bodily integrity," and the importance of the evidence to the prosecution's case.
In Warden v. Hayden, Justice Brennan for the Court cautioned that the items there seized were not "'testimonial' or 'communicative' in nature, and their introduction therefore did not compel respondent to become a witness against himself in violation of the Fifth Amendment. . . . This case thus does not require that we consider whether there are items of evidential value whose very nature precludes them from being the object of a reasonable search and seizure." This merging of Fourth and Fifth Amendment considerations derived from Boyd v. United States, the first case in which the Supreme Court considered at length the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Boyd was a quasi-criminal proceeding for the forfeiture of goods alleged to have been imported in violation of law, and concerned a statute which authorized court orders to require defendants to produce any document which might "tend to prove any allegation made by the United States." That there was a self- incrimination problem the entire Court was in agreement, but Justice Bradley for a majority of the Justices also utilized the Fourth Amendment.
While the statute did not authorize a search but instead compulsory production, the Justice concluded that the law was well within the restrictions of the search and seizure clause. With this point established, the Justice relied on Lord Camden's opinion in Entick v. Carrington for the proposition that seizure of items to be used as evidence only was impermissible. Justice Bradley announced that the "essence of the offence" committed by the Government against Boyd "is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers . . . but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property. . . . Breaking into a house and opening boxes and drawers are circumstances of aggravation; but any forcible and compulsory extortion of a man's own testimony or of his private papers to be used as evidence to convict him of crime or to forfeit his goods, is within the condemnation of that judgment. In this regard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments run almost into each other."
While it may be doubtful that the equation of search warrants with subpoenas and other compulsory process ever really amounted to much of a limitation, the present analysis of the Court dispenses with any theory of "convergence" of the two Amendments. Thus, in Andresen v. Maryland, police executed a warrant to search defendant's offices for specified documents pertaining to a fraudulent sale of land, and the Court sustained the admission of the papers discovered as evidence at his trial. The Fifth Amendment was inapplicable, the Court held, because there had been no compulsion of defendant to produce or to authenticate the documents. As for the Fourth Amendment, inasmuch as the "business records" seized were evidence of criminal acts, they were properly seizable under the rule of Warden v. Hayden; the fact that they were "testimonial" in nature, records in the defendant's handwriting, was irrelevant. Acknowledging that "there are grave dangers inherent in executing a warrant authorizing a search and seizure of a person's papers," the Court's response was to observe that while some "innocuous documents" would have to be examined to ascertain which papers were to be seized, authorities, just as with electronic "seizures" of conversations, "must take care to assure that they are conducted in a manner that minimizes unwar-ranted intrusions upon privacy."
Although Andresen was concerned with business records, its discussion seemed equally applicable to "personal" papers, such as diaries and letters, as to which a much greater interest in privacy most certainly exists. The question of the propriety of seizure of such papers continues to be the subject of reservation in opinions, but it is far from clear that the Court would accept any such exception should the issue be presented.
Execution of Warrants.-The Fourth Amendment's "general touchstone of reasonableness . . . governs the method of execution of the warrant." Until recently, however, most such issues have been dealt with by statute and rule. It was a rule at common law that before an officer could break and enter he must give notice of his office, authority, and purpose and must in effect be refused admittance, and until recently this has been a statutory requirement in the federal system and generally in the States. In Ker v. California, the Court considered the rule of announcement as a constitutional requirement, although a majority there found circumstances justifying entry without announcement. In Wilson v. Arkansas, the Court determined that the common law "knock and announce" rule is an element of the Fourth Amendment reasonableness inquiry. The rule is merely a presumption, however, that yields under various circumstances, including those posing a threat of physical violence to officers, those in which a prisoner has escaped and taken refuge in his dwelling, and those in which officers have reason to believe that destruction of evidence is likely. The test, articulated two years later in Richards v. Wisconsin, is whether police have "a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile, or that it would inhibit the effective investigation of the crime." In Richards, the Court held that there is no blanket exception to the rule whenever officers are executing a search warrant in a felony drug investigation; instead, a case-by-case analysis is required to determine whether no-knock entry is justified under the circumstances. Recent federal laws providing for the issuance of warrants authorizing in certain circumstances "no-knock" entries to execute warrants will no doubt present the Court with opportunities to explore the configurations of the rule of announcement. A statute regulating the expiration of a warrant and issuance of another "should be liberally construed in favor of the individual." Similarly, inasmuch as the existence of probable cause must be established by fresh facts, so the execution of the warrant should be done in timely fashion so as to ensure so far as possible the continued existence of probable cause. "substantially less intrusive" than an arrest, was justified because of the law enforcement interests in minimizing the risk of harm to officers, facilitating entry and conduct of the search, and preventing flight in the event incriminating evidence is found. Also, under some circumstances officers may search premises on the mistaken but reasonable belief that the premises are described in an otherwise valid warrant.
Although for purposes of execution, as for many other matters, there is little difference between search warrants and arrest warrants, one notable difference is that the possession of a valid arrest warrant cannot authorize authorities to enter the home of a third party looking for the person named in the warrant; in order to do that, they need a search warrant signifying that a magistrate has determined that there is probable cause to believe the person named is on the premises.
Valid Searches and Seizures Without Warrants
While the Supreme Court stresses the importance of warrants and has repeatedly referred to searches without warrants as "exceptional," it appears that the greater number of searches, as well as the vast number of arrests, take place without warrants. The Reporters of the American Law Institute Project on a Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure have noted "their conviction that, as a practical matter, searches without warrant and incidental to arrest have been up to this time, and may remain, of greater practical importance" than searches pursuant to warrants. "[T]he evidence on hand . . . compel[s] the conclusion that searches under warrants have played a comparatively minor part in law enforcement, except in connection with narcotics and gambling laws." Nevertheless, the Court frequently asserts that "the most basic constitutional rule in this area is that 'searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment-subject only to a few specially established and well-delineated exceptions."' The exceptions are said to be "jealously and carefully drawn," and there must be "a showing by those who seek exemption . . . that the exigencies of the situation made that course imperative." While the record does indicate an effort to categorize the exceptions, the number and breadth of those exceptions have been growing.
Detention Short of Arrest: Stop-and-Frisk.-Arrests are subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, but the courts have followed the common law in upholding the right of police officers to take a person into custody without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony or a misdemeanor in their presence. The probable cause is, of course, the same standard required to be met in the issuance of an arrest warrant, and must be satisfied by conditions existing prior to the policeman's stop, what is discovered thereafter not sufficing to establish retroactively reasonable cause. There are, however, instances when a policeman's suspicions will have been aroused by someone's conduct or manner, but probable cause for placing such a person under arrest will be lacking. In Terry v. Ohio, the Court almost unanimously approved an on-the-street investigation by a police officer which involved "patting down" the subject of the investigation for weapons.
The case arose when a police officer observed three individuals engaging in conduct which appeared to him, on the basis of training and experience, to be the "casing" of a store for a likely armed robbery; upon approaching the men, identifying himself, and not receiving prompt identification, the officer seized one of the men, patted the exterior of his clothes, and discovered a gun. Chief Justice Warren for the Court wrote that the Fourth Amendment was applicable to the situation, applicable "whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away." Since the warrant clause is necessarily and practically of no application to the type of on-the-street encounter present in Terry, the Chief Justice continued, the question was whether the policeman's actions were reasonable. The test of reasonableness in this sort of situation is whether the police officer can point to "specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts," would lead a neutral magistrate on review to conclude that a man of reasonable caution would be warranted in believing that possible criminal behavior was at hand and that both an investigative stop and a "frisk" was required. Inasmuch as the conduct witnessed by the policeman reasonably led him to believe that an armed robbery was in prospect, he was as reasonably led to believe that the men were armed and probably dangerous and that his safety required a "frisk." Because the object of the "frisk" is the discovery of dangerous weapons, "it must therefore be confined in scope to an intrusion reasonably designed to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments for the assault of the police officer." In a later case, the Court held that an officer may seize an object if, in the course of a weapons frisk, "plain touch" reveals presence of an object that the officer has probable cause to believe is contraband, the officer may seize that object. The Court viewed the situation as analogous to that covered by the "plain view" doctrine: obvious contraband may be seized, but a search may not be expanded to determine whether an object is contraband. Also impermissible is physical manipulation, without reasonable suspicion, of a bus passenger's carry-on luggage stored in an overhead compartment.
Terry did not pass on a host of problems, including the grounds that could permissibly lead an officer to momentarily stop a person on the street or elsewhere in order to ask questions rather than frisk for weapons, the right of the stopped individual to refuse to cooperate, and the permissible response of the police to that refusal. A partial answer was provided in 2004, the Court upholding a state law that required a suspect to disclose his name in the course of a valid Terry stop. Questions about a suspect's identity "are a routine and accepted part of many Terry stops," the Court explained.
After Terry, the standard for stops for investigative purposes evolved into one of "reasonable suspicion of criminal activity." That test permits some stops and questioning without probable cause in order to allow police officers to explore the foundations of their suspicions. While not elaborating a set of rules governing the application of the tests, the Court was initially restrictive in recognizing permissible bases for reasonable suspicion. Extensive instrusions on individual privacy, e.g., transportation to the stationhouse for interrogation and fingerprinting, were invalidated in the absence of probable cause, although the Court has held that an uncorroborated, anonymous tip is insufficient basis for a Terry stop, and that there is no "firearms" exception to the reasonable suspicion requirement. More recently, however, the Court has taken less restrictive approaches.
It took the Court some time to settle on a test for when a "seizure" has occurred, and the Court has recently modified its approach. The issue is of some importance, since it is at this point that Fourth Amendment protections take hold. The Terry Court recognized in dictum that "not all personal intercourse between policemen and citizens involves 'seizures' of persons," and suggested that "[o]nly when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen may we conclude that a 'seizure' has occurred." Years later Justice Stewart proposed a similar standard, that a person has been seized "only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave." This reasonable perception standard was subsequently endorsed by a majority of Justices, and was applied in several cases in which admissibility of evidence turned on whether a seizure of the person not justified by probable cause or reasonable suspicion had occurred prior to the uncovering of the evidence. No seizure occurred, for example, when INS agents seeking to identify illegal aliens conducted workforce surveys within a garment factory; while some agents were positioned at exits, others systematically moved through the factory and questioned employees. This brief questioning, even with blocked exits, amounted to "classic consensual encounters rather than Fourth Amendment seizures." The Court also ruled that no seizure had occurred when police in a squad car drove alongside a suspect who had turned and run down the sidewalk when he saw the squad car approach. Under the circumstances (no siren, flashing lights, display of a weapon, or blocking of the suspect's path), the Court concluded, the police conduct "would not have communicated to the reasonable person an attempt to capture or otherwise intrude upon [one's] freedom of movement."
Soon thereafter, however, the Court departed from the Mendenhall reasonable perception standard and adopted a more formalistic approach, holding that an actual chase with evident intent to capture did not amount to a "seizure" because the suspect did not comply with the officer's order to halt. Mendenhall, said the Court in California v. Hodari D., stated a "necessary" but not a "sufficient" condition for a seizure of the person through show of authority. A Fourth Amendment "seizure" of the person, the Court determined, is the same as a common law arrest; there must be either application of physical force (or the laying on of hands), or submission to the assertion of authority. Indications are, however, that Hodari D. does not signal the end of the reasonable perception standard, but merely carves an exception applicable to chases and perhaps other encounters between suspects and police.
Later in the same term the Court ruled that the Mendenhall "free-to-leave" inquiry was misplaced in the context of a police sweep of a bus, but that a modified reasonable perception approach still governed. In conducting a bus sweep, aimed at detecting illegal drugs and their couriers, police officers typically board a bus during a stopover at a terminal and ask to inspect tickets, identification, and sometimes luggage of selected passengers. The Court did not focus on whether an "arrest" had taken place, as adherence to the Hodari D. approach would have required, but instead suggested that the appropriate inquiry is "whether a reasonable person would feel free to decline the officers' requests or otherwise terminate the encounter." "When the person is seated on a bus and has no desire to leave," the Court explained, "the degree to which a reasonable person would feel that he or she could leave is not an accurate measure of the coercive effect of the encounter."
A Terry search need not be limited to a stop and frisk of the person, but may extend as well to a protective search of the passenger compartment of a car if an officer possesses "a reasonable belief, based on specific and articulable facts . . . that the suspect is dangerous and . . . may gain immediate control of weapons." How lengthy a Terry detention may be varies with the circumstances. In approving a 20-minute detention of a driver made necessary by the driver's own evasion of drug agents and a state police decision to hold the driver until the agents could arrive on the scene, the Court indicated that it is "appropriate to examine whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant."
Similar principles govern detention of luggage at airports in order to detect the presence of drugs; Terry "limitations applicable to investigative detentions of the person should define the permissible scope of an investigative detention of the person's luggage on less than probable cause." The general rule is that "when an officer's observations lead him reasonably to believe that a traveler is carrying luggage that contains narcotics, the principles of Terry . . . would permit the officer to detain the luggage briefly to investigate the circumstances that aroused his suspicion, provided that the investigative detention is properly limited in scope." Seizure of luggage for an expeditious "canine sniff" by a dog trained to detect narcotics can satisfy this test even though seizure of luggage is in effect detention of the traveler, since the procedure results in "limited disclosure," impinges only slightly on a traveler's privacy interest in the contents of personal luggage, and does not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. By contrast, taking a suspect to an interrogation room on grounds short of probable cause, retaining his air ticket, and retrieving his luggage without his permission taints consent given under such circumstances to open the luggage, since by then the detention had exceeded the bounds of a permissible Terry investigative stop and amounted to an invalid arrest. But the same requirements for brevity of detention and limited scope of investigation are apparently inapplicable to border searches of international travelers, the Court having approved a 24- hour detention of a traveler suspected of smuggling drugs in her alimentary canal.
Search Incident to Arrest.-The common-law rule permitting searches of the person of an arrestee as an incident to the arrest has occasioned little controversy in the Court. The dispute has centered around the scope of the search. Since it was the stated general rule that the scope of a warrantless search must be strictly tied to and justified by the circumstances which rendered its justification permissible, and since it was the rule that the justification of a search of the arrestee was to prevent destruction of evidence and to prevent access to a weapon, it was argued to the court that a search of the person of the defendant arrested for a traffic offense, which discovered heroin in a crumpled cigarette package, was impermissible, inasmuch as there could have been no destructible evidence relating to the offense for which he was arrested and no weapon could have been concealed in the cigarette package. The Court rejected this argument, ruling that "no additional justification" is required for a custodial arrest of a suspect based on probable cause.
However, the Justices have long found themselves embroiled in argument about the scope of the search incident to arrest as it extends beyond the person to the area in which the person is arrested, most commonly either his premises or his vehicle. Certain early cases went both ways on the basis of some fine distinctions, but in Harris v. United States, the Court approved a search of a four-room apartment pursuant to an arrest under warrant for one crime and in which the search turned up evidence of another crime. A year later, in Trupiano v. United States, a raid on a distillery resulted in the arrest of a man found on the premises and a seizure of the equipment; the Court reversed the conviction because the officers had had time to obtain a search warrant and had not done so. "A search or seizure without a warrant as an incident to a lawful arrest has always been considered to be a strictly limited right. It grows out of the inherent necessities of the situation at the time of the arrest. But there must be something more in the way of necessity than merely a lawful arrest." This decision was overruled in United States v. Rabinowitz, in which officers arrested defendant in his one-room office pursuant to an arrest warrant and proceeded to search the room completely. The Court observed that the issue was not whether the officers had the time and opportunity to obtain a search warrant but whether the search incident to arrest was reasonable. Though Rabinowitz referred to searches of the area within the arrestee's "immediate control," it provided no standard by which this area was to be determined, and extensive searches were permitted under the rule.
In Chimel v. California, however, a narrower view was asserted, the primacy of warrants was again emphasized, and a standard by which the scope of searches pursuant to arrest could be ascertained was set out. "When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapons that the latter might seek to use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise, the officer's safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee's person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction. And the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary items must, of course, be governed by a like rule. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of someone who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. There is ample justification, therefore, for a search of the arrestee's person and the area 'within his immediate control'-construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence."
"There is no comparable justification, however, for routinely searching any room other than that in which an arrest occurs-or, for that matter, for searching through all the desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas in that room itself. Such searches, in the absence of well-recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant."
Although the viability of Chimel had been in doubt for some time as the Court refined and applied its analysis of reasonable and justifiable expectations of privacy, it has in some but not all contexts survived the changed rationale. Thus, in Mincey v. Arizona, the Court rejected a state effort to create a "homicide-scene" exception for a warrantless search of an entire apartment extending over four days. The occupant had been arrested and removed and it was true, the Court observed, that a person legally taken into custody has a lessened right of privacy in his person, but he does not have a lessened right of privacy in his entire house. And, in United States v. Chadwick, emphasizing a person's reasonable expectation of privacy in his luggage or other baggage, the Court held that, once police have arrested and immobilized a suspect, validly seized bags are not subject to search without a warrant. Police may, however, in the course of jailing an arrested suspect conduct an inventory search of the individual's personal effects, including the contents of a shoulder bag, since "the scope of a station-house search may in some circumstances be even greater than those supporting a search immediately following arrest."
Still purporting to reaffirm Chimel, the Court in New York v. Belton held that police officers who had made a valid arrest of the occupant of a vehicle could make a contemporaneous search of the entire passenger compartment of the automobile, including containers found therein. Believing that a fairly simple rule understandable to authorities in the field was desirable, the Court ruled "that articles inside the relatively narrow compass of the passenger compartment of an automobile are in fact generally, if not inevitably, within 'the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary ite [m]."'
Chimel has, however, been qualified by another consideration. Not only may officers search areas within the arrestee's immediate control in order to alleviate any threat posed by the arrestee, but they may extend that search if there may be a threat posed by "unseen third parties in the house." A "protective sweep" of the entire premises (including an arrestee's home) may be undertaken on less than probable cause if officers have a "reasonable belief," based on "articulable facts," that the area to be swept may harbor an individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene.
Vehicular Searches.-In the early days of the automobile the Court created an exception for searches of vehicles, holding in Carroll v. United States that vehicles may be searched without warrants if the officer undertaking the search has probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband. The Court explained that the mobility of vehicles would allow them to be quickly moved from the jurisdiction if time were taken to obtain a warrant.
Initially the Court limited Carroll's reach, holding impermissible the warrantless seizure of a parked automobile merely because it is movable, and indicating that vehicles may be stopped only while moving or reasonably contemporaneously with movement. Also, the Court ruled that the search must be reasonably contemporaneous with the stop, so that it was not permissible to remove the vehicle to the stationhouse for a warrantless search at the convenience of the police.
The Court next developed a reduced privacy rationale to supplement the mobility rationale, explaining that "the configuration, use, and regulation of automobiles often may dilute the reasonable expectation of privacy that exists with respect to differently situated property." "One has a lesser expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle because its function is transportation and it seldom serves as one's residence or as the repository of personal effects. . . . It travels public thoroughfares where both its occupants and its contents are in plain view."' While motor homes do serve as residences and as repositories for personal effects, and while their contents are often shielded from public view, the Court extended the automobile exception to them as well, holding that there is a diminished expectation of privacy in a mobile home parked in a parking lot and licensed for vehicular travel, hence "readily mobile."
The reduced expectancy concept has broadened police powers to conduct automobile searches without warrants, but they still must have probable cause to search a vehicle and they may not make random stops of vehicles on the roads, but instead must base stops of individual vehicles on probable cause or some "articulable and reasonable suspicion" of traffic or safety violation or some other criminal activity. By contrast, fixed- checkpoint stops in the absence of any individualized suspicion have been upheld for purposes of promoting highway safety or policing the international border,