Immigration Lawyers New York



Searches and Seizures

Courts' language discussing what's generally reasonable during a search or a seizure. Sections below deal with various sub-categories of this important topic, but this section contains the language that deals with policy, definitions and general considerations of the issue.

Court Opinions on the Topic:

Minnesota v. Dickerson (1993)


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Florida v. Rodriguez (1984)
Opinion by: PER CURIAM
Certain constraints on personal liberty that constitute "seizures" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment may nonetheless be justified even though there is no showing of "probable cause" if "there is articulable suspicion that a person has committed or is about to commit a crime." Florida v. Royer, supra, at 498 (opinion of WHITE, J.). Such a temporary detention for questioning in the case of an airport search is reviewed under the lesser standard enunciated in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), and is permissible because of the "public interest involved in the suppression of illegal transactions in drugs or of any other serious crime." Royer, supra, at 498-499.

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...[I]t is well settled that it is constitutionally reasonable for law enforcement officials to seize "effects" that cannot support a justifiable expectation of privacy without a warrant, based on probable cause to believe they contain contraband.

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United States v. Jacobsen Et Al. (1984)
The Honorable Justice BRENNAN, with whom JUSTICE MARSHALL joins, dissenting:
In determining whether a reasonable expectation of privacy has been violated, we have always looked to the context in which an item is concealed, not to the identity of the concealed item. Thus in cases involving searches for physical items, the Court has framed its analysis first in terms of the expectation of privacy that normally attends the location of the item and ultimately in terms of the legitimacy of that expectation. [...] In sum, until today this Court has always looked to the manner in which an individual has attempted to preserve the private nature of a particular fact before determining whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy upon which the government may not intrude without substantial justification.

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United States v. Karo Et Al. (1984)
The Honorable Justice STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE BRENNAN and JUSTICE MARSHALL join, concurring in part and dissenting in part:
...[B]y attaching a monitoring device to respondents' property, the agents usurped a part of a citizen's property -- in this case a part of respondents' exclusionary rights in their tangible personal property. By attaching the beeper and using the container to conceal it, the Government in the most fundamental sense was asserting "dominion and control" over the property -- the power to use the property for its own purposes. And "dominion and control" is a "seizure" in the most basic sense of the term.

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United States v. Leon Et Al. (1984)
The Honorable Justice BRENNAN, with whom JUSTICE MARSHALL joins, dissenting:
When the public, as it quite properly has done in the past as well as in the present, demands that those in government increase their efforts to combat crime, it is all too easy for those government officials to seek expedient solutions. In contrast to such costly and difficult measures as building more prisons, improving law enforcement methods, or hiring more prosecutors and judges to relieve the overburdened court systems in the country's metropolitan areas, the relaxation of Fourth Amendment standards seems a tempting, costless means of meeting the public's demand for better law enforcement. In the long run, however, we as a society pay a heavy price for such expediency...

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