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|United States v. Place|
|Argued March 2, 1983|
Decided June 20, 1983
|Full case name||United States of America v. Raymond J. Place|
|Citations||462 U.S. 696 ( more )|
|Prior||Defendant's motion to suppress denied, 498 F. Supp. 1217 (E.D.N.Y. 1980), rev'd, 660 F.2d 44 (2d Cir. 1981), cert. granted, 457 U.S. 1104(1982)|
|A dog sniff is not a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.|
|Majority||O'Connor, joined by Burger, White, Powell, Rehnquist, Stevens|
|Concurrence||Brennan, joined by Marshall|
|Concurrence||Blackmun, joined by Marshall|
|U.S. Const. amend. IV|
United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696 (1983), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States which held that a sniff of luggage in a public place, by a police dog specially trained to detect the odor of narcotics, was not a "search" under the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court reasoned that the sniff of a dog is sui generis , intended to disclose only the presence or absence of narcotics. Because a dog sniff is such a limited test, the Court carved out this exception from the broad category of "searches" for which a warrant is generally required.
Raymond J. Place first aroused the suspicion of law enforcement officers as he was standing in line at the Miami airport waiting to buy a ticket to New York's LaGuardia Airport. The officers approached him on his way to the gate and asked him for identification. Place also agreed to let the officers search the luggage he had checked, but they declined to do so in light of the flight's imminent departure. Discrepancies between the two luggage tags on Place's two suitcases further aroused the officers' suspicions, and they confirmed that the addresses were false. The Miami officers alerted DEA agents at LaGuardia to their suspicions about Place.
The DEA agents waited until Place had retrieved his luggage and called a limousine before approaching him in New York. The DEA agents again asked Place for his identification, which he produced. The agents discovered that Place had no outstanding warrants. They then asked to search Place's luggage, but Place declined to allow the agents to do so. The agents then told Place they were going to take the luggage to a federal judge to obtain a warrant to search the luggage, and that Place was free to accompany them if he chose to. An hour and a half later, the agents had taken Place's bags to Kennedy airport and allowed a trained narcotics detection dog to perform a "sniff" test. The dog detected the presence of narcotics. This was late on a Friday afternoon; the agents retained the luggage over the weekend until Monday, when they obtained a warrant to search the luggage. They discovered over a kilogram of cocaine.
Place was indicted for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. In the district court, Place moved to suppress the cocaine, arguing that the warrantless seizure of the luggage violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court disagreed, reasoning instead that the police only needed reasonable suspicion to seize Place's bags, which they had.Place pleaded guilty to the possession charge, but reserved the right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion. On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed, holding that the prolonged seizure of Place's bags violated the principles of Terry v. Ohio (1968). The U.S. Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case.
The Fourth Amendment protects the interest people have in keeping their persons, houses, papers, and effects free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Though most of the Court's container jurisprudence deals with the search of the container rather than the initial seizure, there existed some general principles. First, the seizure may not take place without a warrant, supported by probable cause, and describing particularly the things to be seized. Second, over time, exceptions to the warrant requirement had evolved, allowing for seizure without probable cause in exigent circumstances not allowing for the time to obtain a warrant.
The Court first had to consider whether, as the lower courts had assumed, the framework of Terry v. Ohio, under which a limited detention of a person can be justified in the face of reasonable suspicion, can apply to the temporary seizure of a person's luggage. Indeed, when government agents have reason to suspect (but not probable cause to believe) that, for instance, a traveler's luggage contains narcotics, it has a substantial interest in confirming or denying that suspicion. In order to dispel that suspicion, the Court reasoned a brief seizure of the luggage could be justified. This brief seizure could not encompass a full-blown "search," just as a Terry stop may not increase in seriousness to a full-blown arrest, unless probable cause to perform the search arose during the brief detention.
In this case, the whole reason the DEA agents seized Place's luggage was so they could subject it to the dog sniff. The sniff, in turn, would violate Place's Fourth Amendment rights if it constituted a "search." A "search" is an unwarranted intrusion on a person's objectively reasonable expectation of privacy. But the sniff did not require opening the luggage; it did not expose things that are not contraband to public view. The sniff was thus far more limited than the typical search. Moreover, the sniff merely revealed the presence or absence of narcotics. Thus, it was sui generis , and did not constitute a "search" under the Fourth Amendment.
However, even though the DEA agents did not "search" Place's luggage when they subjected it to the dog sniff, their seizure of the luggage was unreasonable because it exceeded the limits of a Terry-type investigative stop. The length of time the agents had possession of Place's luggage was too great—90 minutes before the dog sniff had been conducted. Also, the agents knew what time Place's plane was scheduled to land at LaGuardia, and thus had ample time to arrange their investigation accordingly, so that taking Place's luggage from LaGuardia to Kennedy airports should not have been necessary. Thus, the seizure of Place's luggage was unreasonable in this case.
Justice Brennan concurred in the Court's judgment because he agreed with the Second Circuit that the scope of the agents' seizure of Place's luggage was unreasonable. Furthermore, Brennan noted that while Terry may authorize seizures of personal effects incident to a lawful seizure of the person, nothing in the Terry line of cases authorizes the police to seize personal property, such as luggage, independent of the seizure of the person. For Brennan, it was therefore unnecessary for the Court to decide whether the dog sniff constitutes a "search" under the Fourth Amendment. It was Brennan's view that dog sniffs can reveal more information than just the presence or absence of narcotics, and therefore constituted a "search." But Brennan did not feel that this case was an appropriate vehicle for the Court to decide how to handle dog sniffs under the Fourth Amendment.
Justice Blackmun also felt that this case was not appropriate for deciding the status of dog sniffs under the Fourth Amendment. For one thing, Blackmun observed, Place had not raised the issue in either the district court or the Second Circuit. For another, Blackmun agreed with Brennan that it was not necessary to decide whether a dog sniff is a "search" in order to decide the case, because the seizure of Place's luggage was unreasonable in any event.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. In addition, it sets requirements for issuing warrants: warrants must be issued by a judge or magistrate, justified by probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and must particularly describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which police authorities have reason to obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspected criminal or the issuing of a search warrant. It is also the standard by which grand juries issue criminal indictments. The principle behind the standard is to limit the power of authorities to perform random or abusive searches, and to promote lawful evidence gathering and procedural form during criminal arrest and prosecution. The standard also applies to personal or property searches.
Search and seizure is a procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems by which police or other authorities and their agents, who, suspecting that a crime has been committed, commence a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence found in connection to the crime.
A traffic stop, commonly called being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.
Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof in United States law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants, but more than an "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch'"; it must be based on "specific and articulable facts", "taken together with rational inferences from those facts", and the suspicion must be associated with the specific individual. If police additionally have reasonable suspicion that a person so detained is armed and dangerous, they may "frisk" the person for weapons, but not for contraband like drugs. However, if the police develop probable cause during a weapons frisk, they may then conduct a full search. Reasonable suspicion is evaluated using the "reasonable person" or "reasonable officer" standard, in which said person in the same circumstances could reasonably suspect a person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity; it depends upon the totality of circumstances, and can result from a combination of particular facts, even if each is individually innocuous.
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), was a case in which the US Supreme Court ruled that an implied cause of action existed for an individual whose Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable search and seizures had been violated by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The victim of such a deprivation could sue for the violation of the Fourth Amendment itself despite the lack of any federal statute authorizing such a suit. The existence of a remedy for the violation was implied by the importance of the right violated.
United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court decision that determined that Fourth Amendment protections do not apply to searches and seizures by United States agents of property owned by a nonresident alien in a foreign country.
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983), is a Fourth Amendment case. Gates overruled Aguilar v. Texas and Spinelli v. United States, thereby replacing the Aguilar–Spinelli test for probable cause with the "totality of the circumstances" test.
United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531 (1985), was a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the Fourth Amendment's border search exception and balloon swallowing.
Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405 (2005), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the Fourth Amendment is not violated when the use of a drug-sniffing dog during a routine traffic stop does not unreasonably prolong the length of the stop.
Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429 (1991), was a United States Supreme Court case that overturned a per se rule imposed by the Florida Supreme Court that held consensual searches of passengers on buses were always unreasonable. The Court ruled that the fact that the search takes place on a bus is one factor in determining whether a suspect feels free to decline the search and walk away from the officers.
Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983), was a U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with issues involving the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the case establishes a firm line in cases where police conduct search and seizure without a warrant. The court ruled that, while it is legal for authorities to target and approach a person based on their behavior, absent more, they cannot detain or search such individual without a warrant.
Florida v. Rodriguez, 469 U.S. 1 (1984), was a United States Supreme Court case concerning the Fourth Amendment rights of protection from search and seizure. The case involved defendant Damasco Vincente Rodriguez against the State of Florida. After the Florida State Court and the District Court of Appeal of Florida both judged in favor of the defendant, the State of Florida appealed for a writ of Certiorari. The Supreme Court sided with the State of Florida, overturning the decision of the Florida state courts.
Torres v. Puerto Rico, 442 U.S. 465 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court case holding that the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure applies to Puerto Rico.
Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210 (1984), was a United States Supreme Court decision finding that a police demand of an individual to identify himself would convert a consensual stop to a Terry stop, whereas a mere request would not.
United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980), was a United States Supreme Court case that determined "seizure" occurs when an officer uses displays of authority to detain a person.
A minimally intrusive/invasive warrantless search is a type of search that does not breach the boundaries of the property and is performed without any prerequisite search warrant. These searches are contested regularly in courts, and have been ruled for and against under different circumstances. The primary debate concerns the method in which the search is conducted, and also the area being searched. Issues concerning warrantless search and subsequent seizure are always of local concern, because they are a community law enforcement issue as well as a national law issue.
Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. 1 (2013), was a United States Supreme Court case which resulted in the decision that police use of a trained detection dog to sniff for narcotics on the front porch of a private home is a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and therefore, without consent, requires both probable cause and a search warrant.
United States v. Sharpe, 470 U.S. 675 (1985), was an important decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court explained how long police are permitted to stop vehicles as part of an investigatory stop before violating the Fourth Amendment. A seven-member majority of the Court determined the twenty minute stop in this case was legal, so the government won. However, the Court declined to adopt a bright line rule, deciding instead that "common sense and ordinary human experience must govern over rigid criteria." The Court announced that the rule for determining whether a detention is too long will depend on whether the police "diligently pursued" an investigation to quickly confirm or dispel their suspicions. The Court clarified that judges should avoid "unrealistic second-guessing" of police and should take into account "swiftly developing situation[s]." Sharpe has been frequently cited, and is the framework used to challenge unduly prolonged police stops in thousands of criminal cases.
Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10 (1948), was a significant United States Supreme Court decision addressing search warrants and the Fourth Amendment. In this case, where federal agents had probable cause to search a hotel room but did not obtain a warrant, the Court declared the search was "unreasonable."