Supreme CourL
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456 7*1* 446
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!'2=$"2.2$ =" =-' 1702'/' !"72= "> +', -./01-$2'
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%DJKEDE FCHD @93 9:;9
Þollce wenL Lo peLlLloner's home on !anuary 28, 1964, Lo quesLlon hlm abouL a murder.
ln Lhe course of Lhelr lnqulry he showed Lhem Lhree guns, and he agreed Lo Lake a lle-
deLecLor LesL on lebruary 2. 1he LesL was lnconcluslve on Lhe murder buL durlng lLs
course peLlLloner admlLLed a LhefL. ln peLlLloner's absence, Lwo oLher pollcemen came
Lo Lhe house and quesLloned peLlLloner's wlfe Lo check peLlLloner's sLory and
corroboraLe hls admlsslon of Lhe LhefL. unaware of Lhe vlslL of Lhe oLher offlcers who
had been shown Lhe guns and knowlng llLLle abouL Lhe murder weapon, Lhe pollce asked
abouL any guns Lhere mlghL be ln Lhe house and were shown four by peLlLloner's wlfe
whlch she offered Lo leL Lhem Lake. AfLer one pollceman flrsL decllned Lhe offer, Lhey
Look Lhe guns, along wlLh varlous arLlcles of peLlLloner's cloLhlng hls wlfe made avallable
Lo Lhem. Cn lebruary 19, peLlLloner was arresLed ln hls house for Lhe murder and on
LhaL daLe a warranL Lo search peLlLloner's auLomoblle was applled for by Lhe pollce chlef
and lssued by Lhe ALLorney Ceneral (who had assumed charge of Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon and
was laLer Lhe chlef prosecuLor aL Lhe Lrlal), acLlng as a [usLlce of Lhe peace. 1he car,
whlch aL Lhe Llme of Lhe arresL was parked ln peLlLloner's drlveway, was subsequenLly
Lowed Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon, where on lebruary 21 and on Lwo occaslons Lhe nexL year lL
was searched. vacuum sweeplngs from Lhe car as well as from Lhe cloLhlng were used as
evldence aL Lhe Lrlal, along wlLh one of Lhe guns made avallable by peLlLloner's wlfe.
lollowlng Lhe overrullng of preLrlal moLlons Lo suppress LhaL evldence, peLlLloner was
convlcLed, and Lhe SLaLe Supreme CourL afflrmed. Peld:
1. 1he warranL for Lhe search and selzure of peLlLloner's auLomoblle dld noL saLlsfy Lhe
requlremenLs of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL as made appllcable Lo Lhe SLaLes by Lhe
lourLeenLh because lL was noL lssued by a "neuLral and deLached maglsLraLe." !ohnson
v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10, 14 . Þp. 449-433.
2. 1he baslc consLlLuLlonal rule ls LhaL "searches conducLed ouLslde Lhe [udlclal process,
wlLhouL prlor approval by [udge or maglsLraLe, are per se unreasonable under Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL - sub[ecL only Lo a few speclflcally esLabllshed and well-deflned [403
u.S. 443, 444] excepLlons," and, on Lhe facLs of Lhls case, a warranLless search and
selzure of Lhe car cannoL be [usLlfled under Lhose excepLlons. Þp. 433-482.
(a) 1he selzure of Lhe car ln Lhe drlveway cannoL be [usLlfled as lncldenLal Lo Lhe arresL
whlch Look place lnslde Lhe house. Lven assumlng, arguendo, LhaL Lhe pollce could
properly have made a warranLless search of Lhe car ln Lhe drlveway when Lhey arresLed
peLlLloner, Lhey could noL have done so aL Lhelr lelsure afLer lLs removal. Þp. 433-437.
(b) under Lhe clrcumsLances presenL here - where Lhe pollce for some Llme had known
of Lhe probable role of Lhe car ln Lhe crlme, peLlLloner had had ample opporLunlLy Lo
desLroy lncrlmlnaLlng evldence, Lhe house was guarded aL Lhe Llme of arresL and
peLlLloner had no access Lo Lhe car - Lhere were no exlgenL clrcumsLances [usLlfylng Lhe
warranLless search even had lL been made before Lhe car was Laken Lo Lhe pollce
sLaLlon, and Lhe speclal excepLlons for auLomoblle searches ln Carroll v. unlLed
SLaLes, 267 u.S. 132 , and Chambers v. Maroney,399 u.S. 42 , are clearly lnappllcable. Cf.
uyke v. 1aylor lmplemenL Mfg. Co., 391 u.S. 216 . Þp. 438-464.
(c) under cerLaln clrcumsLances Lhe pollce may wlLhouL a warranL selze evldence ln
"plaln vlew," Lhough noL for LhaL reason alone and only when Lhe dlscovery of Lhe
evldence ls lnadverLenL. 1haL excepLlon ls lnappllcable Lo Lhe facLs of Lhe lnsLanL case,
where Lhe pollce had ample opporLunlLy Lo obLaln a valld warranL, knew ln advance Lhe
car's descrlpLlon and locaLlon, lnLended Lo selze lL when Lhey enLered on peLlLloner's
properLy, and no conLraband or dangerous ob[ecLs were lnvolved. Þp. 464-473.
3. no search and selzure were lmpllcaLed ln Lhe lebruary 2 vlslL when Lhe pollce
obLalned Lhe guns and cloLhlng from peLlLloner's wlfe, and hence Lhey needed no
warranL. 1he pollce, who exerLed no efforL Lo coerce or domlnaLe her, were noL
obllgaLed Lo refuse her offer for Lhem Lo Lake Lhe guns, and ln maklng Lhese and Lhe
oLher lLems avallable Lo Lhe pollce, she was noL acLlng as Lhe lnsLrumenL or agenL of Lhe
pollce. Þp. 484-490.
109 n. P. 403, 260 A. 2d 347, reversed and remanded.
S1LWA81, !., dellvered Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL, ln whlch 8u8CL8, C. !. (as Lo ÞarL lll),
and PA8LAn (as Lo ÞarLs l, ll-u, and lll), uCuCLAS, 88LnnAn, and MA8SPALL, !!., [olned.
PA8LAn, !., flled a concurrlng oplnlon, posL, p. 490. 8u8CL8, C. !., flled a concurrlng and
dlssenLlng oplnlon, posL, p. 492. 8LACk, !., flled a concurrlng [403 u.S. 443, 443] and
dlssenLlng oplnlon, ln a porLlon of ÞarL l and ln ÞarLs ll and lll of whlch 8u8CL8, C. !., and
8LACkMun, !., [olned, posL, p. 493. WPl1L, !., flled a concurrlng and dlssenLlng oplnlon,
ln whlch 8u8CL8, C. !., [olned, posL, p. 310.
Archlbald Cox, by appolnLmenL of Lhe CourL, 400 u.S. 814 , argued Lhe cause for
peLlLloner. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlefs were MaLLhlas !. 8eynolds, !ohn A. Craf, and 8oberL L.
Alexander !. kallnskl argued Lhe cause for respondenL. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef was
Warren 8. 8udman, ALLorney Ceneral of new Pampshlre.
M8. !uS1lCL S1LWA81 dellvered Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL. *
We are called upon ln Lhls case Lo declde lssues under Lhe lourLh and lourLeenLh
AmendmenLs arlslng ln Lhe conLexL of a sLaLe crlmlnal Lrlal for Lhe commlsslon of a
parLlcularly bruLal murder. As ln every case, our slngle duLy ls Lo deLermlne Lhe lssues
presenLed ln accord wlLh Lhe ConsLlLuLlon and Lhe law.
Þamela Mason, a 14-year-old glrl, lefL her home ln ManchesLer, new Pampshlre, on Lhe
evenlng of !anuary 13, 1964, durlng a heavy snowsLorm, apparenLly ln response Lo a
man's Lelephone call for a babyslLLer. LlghL days laLer, afLer a Lhaw, her body was found
by Lhe slde of a ma[or norLh-souLh hlghway several mlles away. She had been murdered.
1he evenL creaLed greaL alarm ln Lhe area, and Lhe pollce lmmedlaLely began a masslve
Cn !anuary 28, havlng learned from a nelghbor LhaL Lhe peLlLloner, Ldward Coolldge,
had been away from home on Lhe evenlng of Lhe glrl's dlsappearance, Lhe pollce wenL
Lo hls house Lo quesLlon hlm. 1hey asked [403 u.S. 443, 446] hlm, among oLher Lhlngs,
lf he owned any guns, and he produced Lhree, Lwo shoLguns and a rlfle. 1hey also asked
wheLher he would Lake a lle-deLecLor LesL concernlng hls accounL of hls acLlvlLles on Lhe
nlghL of Lhe dlsappearance. Pe agreed Lo do so on Lhe followlng Sunday, hls day off. 1he
pollce laLer descrlbed hls aLLlLude on Lhe occaslon of Lhls vlslL as fully "cooperaLlve." Pls
wlfe was ln Lhe house LhroughouL Lhe lnLervlew.
Cn Lhe followlng Sunday, a pollceman called Coolldge early ln Lhe mornlng and asked
hlm Lo come down Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon for Lhe Lrlp Lo Concord, new Pampshlre, where
Lhe lle-deLecLor LesL was Lo be admlnlsLered. 1haL evenlng, Lwo plalncloLhes pollcemen
arrlved aL Lhe Coolldge house, where Mrs. Coolldge was walLlng wlLh her moLher-ln-law
for her husband's reLurn. 1hese Lwo pollcemen were noL Lhe Lwo who had vlslLed Lhe
house earller ln Lhe week, and Lhey apparenLly dld noL know LhaL Coolldge had
dlsplayed Lhree guns for lnspecLlon durlng Lhe earller vlslL. 1he plalncloLhesmen Lold
Mrs. Coolldge LhaL her husband was ln "serlous Lrouble" and probably would noL be
home LhaL nlghL. 1hey asked Coolldge's moLher Lo leave, and proceeded Lo quesLlon
Mrs. Coolldge. uurlng Lhe course of Lhe lnLervlew Lhey obLalned from her four guns
belonglng Lo Coolldge, and some cloLhes LhaL Mrs. Coolldge LhoughL her husband mlghL
have been wearlng on Lhe evenlng of Þamela Mason's dlsappearance.
Coolldge was held ln [all on an unrelaLed charge LhaL nlghL, buL he was released Lhe nexL
day. 1 uurlng Lhe ensulng Lwo and a half weeks, Lhe SLaLe accumulaLed a quanLlLy of
evldence Lo supporL Lhe Lheory LhaL lL was he who had kllled Þamela Mason. Cn
lebruary 19, Lhe resulLs of Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon were presenLed aL a meeLlng beLween Lhe
pollce offlcers worklng on Lhe case and Lhe [403 u.S. 443, 447] SLaLe ALLorney Ceneral,
who had personally Laken charge of all pollce acLlvlLles relaLlng Lo Lhe murder, and was
laLer Lo serve as chlef prosecuLor aL Lhe Lrlal. AL Lhls meeLlng, lL was declded LhaL Lhere
was enough evldence Lo [usLlfy Lhe arresL of Coolldge on Lhe murder charge and a
search of hls house and Lwo cars. AL Lhe concluslon of Lhe meeLlng, Lhe ManchesLer
pollce chlef made formal appllcaLlon, under oaLh, for Lhe arresL and search warranLs.
1he complalnL supporLlng Lhe warranL for a search of Coolldge's ÞonLlac auLomoblle, Lhe
only warranL LhaL concerns us here, sLaLed LhaL Lhe afflanL "has probable cause Lo
suspecL and belleve, and does suspecL and belleve, and herewlLh offers saLlsfacLory
evldence, LhaL Lhere are cerLaln ob[ecLs and Lhlngs used ln Lhe Commlsslon of sald
offense, now kepL, and concealed ln or upon a cerLaln vehlcle, Lo wlL: 1931 ÞonLlac Lwo-
door sedan . . . ." 1he warranLs were Lhen slgned and lssued by Lhe ALLorney Ceneral
hlmself, acLlng as a [usLlce of Lhe peace. under new Pampshlre law ln force aL LhaL Llme,
all [usLlces of Lhe peace were auLhorlzed Lo lssue search warranLs. n. P. 8ev. SLaL. Ann.
393:1 (repealed 1969).
1he pollce arresLed Coolldge ln hls house on Lhe day Lhe warranL lssued. Mrs. Coolldge
asked wheLher she mlghL remaln ln Lhe house wlLh her small chlld, buL was Lold LhaL she
musL sLay elsewhere, apparenLly ln parL because Lhe pollce belleved LhaL she would be
harassed by reporLers lf she were accesslble Lo Lhem. When she asked wheLher she
mlghL Lake her car, she was Lold LhaL boLh cars had been "lmpounded," and LhaL Lhe
pollce would provlde LransporLaLlon for her. Some Llme laLer, Lhe pollce called a Lowlng
company, and abouL Lwo and a half hours afLer Coolldge had been Laken lnLo cusLody
Lhe cars were Lowed Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon. lL appears LhaL aL Lhe Llme of Lhe arresL Lhe
cars were parked ln Lhe Coolldge drlveway, and LhaL alLhough dark had fallen [403 u.S.
443, 448] Lhey were plalnly vlslble boLh from Lhe sLreeL and from lnslde Lhe house
where Coolldge was acLually arresLed. 1he 1931 ÞonLlac was searched and vacuumed on
lebruary 21, Lwo days afLer lL was selzed, agaln a year laLer, ln !anuary 1963, and a Lhlrd
Llme ln Aprll 1963.
AL Coolldge's subsequenL [ury Lrlal on Lhe charge of murder, vacuum sweeplngs,
lncludlng parLlcles of gun powder, Laken from Lhe ÞonLlac were lnLroduced ln evldence
agalnsL hlm, as parL of an aLLempL by Lhe SLaLe Lo show by mlcroscoplc analysls LhaL lL
was hlghly probable LhaL Þamela Mason had been ln Coolldge's car. 2Also lnLroduced ln
evldence was one of Lhe guns Laken by Lhe pollce on Lhelr Sunday evenlng vlslL Lo Lhe
Coolldge house - a .22-callber Mossberg rlfle, whlch Lhe prosecuLlon clalmed was Lhe
murder weapon. ConfllcLlng balllsLlcs LesLlmony was offered on Lhe quesLlon wheLher
Lhe bulleLs found ln Þamela Mason's body had been flred from Lhls rlfle. llnally, Lhe
prosecuLlon lnLroduced vacuum sweeplngs of Lhe cloLhes Laken from Lhe Coolldge
house LhaL same Sunday evenlng, and aLLempLed Lo show Lhrough mlcroscoplc analysls
LhaL Lhere was a hlgh probablllLy LhaL Lhe cloLhes had been ln conLacL wlLh Þamela
Mason's body. ÞreLrlal moLlons Lo suppress all Lhls evldence were referred by Lhe Lrlal
[udge Lo Lhe new Pampshlre Supreme CourL, whlch ruled Lhe evldence admlsslble. 106
n. P. 186, 208 A. 2d 322. 1he [ury found Coolldge gullLy and he was senLenced Lo llfe
lmprlsonmenL. 1he new Pampshlre Supreme CourL afflrmed Lhe [udgmenL of convlcLlon,
109 n. P. 403, 260 A. 2d 347, and we granLed cerLlorarl Lo conslder Lhe consLlLuLlonal
quesLlons ralsed by Lhe admlsslon of Lhls evldence agalnsL Coolldge aL hls Lrlal. 399 u.S.
926 . [403 u.S. 443, 449]
1he peLlLloner's flrsL clalm ls LhaL Lhe warranL auLhorlzlng Lhe selzure and subsequenL
search of hls 1931 ÞonLlac auLomoblle was lnvalld because noL lssued by a "neuLral and
deLached maglsLraLe." Slnce we agree wlLh Lhe peLlLloner LhaL Lhe warranL was lnvalld
for Lhls reason, we need noL conslder hls furLher argumenL LhaL Lhe allegaLlons under
oaLh supporLlng Lhe lssuance of Lhe warranL were so conclusory as Lo vlolaLe relevanL
consLlLuLlonal sLandards. Cf. Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 480 , Agullar v.
1exas, 378 u.S. 108 .
1he classlc sLaLemenL of Lhe pollcy underlylng Lhe warranL requlremenL of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL ls LhaL of Mr. !usLlce !ackson, wrlLlng for Lhe CourL ln !ohnson v. unlLed
SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10, 13 -14:
"1he polnL of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, whlch ofLen ls noL grasped by zealous offlcers, ls
noL LhaL lL denles law enforcemenL Lhe supporL of Lhe usual lnferences whlch reasonable
men draw from evldence. lLs proLecLlon conslsLs ln requlrlng LhaL Lhose lnferences be
drawn by a neuLral and deLached maglsLraLe lnsLead of belng [udged by Lhe offlcer
engaged ln Lhe ofLen compeLlLlve enLerprlse of ferreLlng ouL crlme. Any assumpLlon LhaL
evldence sufflclenL Lo supporL a maglsLraLe's dlslnLeresLed deLermlnaLlon Lo lssue a
search warranL wlll [usLlfy Lhe offlcers ln maklng a search wlLhouL a warranL would
reduce Lhe AmendmenL Lo a nulllLy and leave Lhe people's homes secure only ln Lhe
dlscreLlon of pollce offlcers. . . . When Lhe rlghL of prlvacy musL reasonably yleld Lo Lhe
rlghL of search ls, as a rule, Lo be declded by a [udlclal offlcer, noL by a pollceman or
governmenL enforcemenL agenL."
Cf. unlLed SLaLes v. LefkowlLz, 283 u.S. 432, 464 , Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, aL
486. Wong Sun v.[403 u.S. 443, 430] unlLed SLaLes, 371 u.S. 471, 481 -482, kaLz v.
unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347, 336 -337.
ln Lhls case, Lhe deLermlnaLlon of probable cause was made by Lhe chlef "governmenL
enforcemenL agenL" of Lhe SLaLe - Lhe ALLorney Ceneral - who was acLlvely ln charge of
Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon and laLer was Lo be chlef prosecuLor aL Lhe Lrlal. 1o be sure, Lhe
deLermlnaLlon was formallzed here by a wrlLlng bearlng Lhe LlLle "Search WarranL,"
whereas ln !ohnson Lhere was no plece of paper lnvolved, buL Lhe SLaLe has noL
aLLempLed Lo uphold Lhe warranL on any such arLlflclal basls. 8aLher, Lhe SLaLe argues
LhaL Lhe ALLorney Ceneral, who was unquesLlonably auLhorlzed as a [usLlce of Lhe peace
Lo lssue warranLs under Lhen-exlsLlng sLaLe law, dld ln facL acL as a "neuLral and
deLached maglsLraLe." lurLher, Lhe SLaLe clalms LhaL any maglsLraLe, confronLed wlLh
Lhe showlng of probable cause made by Lhe ManchesLer chlef of pollce, would have
lssued Lhe warranL ln quesLlon. 1o Lhe flrsL proposlLlon lL ls enough Lo answer LhaL Lhere
could hardly be a more approprlaLe seLLlng Lhan Lhls for a per se rule of dlsquallflcaLlon
raLher Lhan a case-by-case evaluaLlon of all Lhe clrcumsLances. WlLhouL dlsrespecL Lo Lhe
sLaLe law enforcemenL agenL here lnvolved, Lhe whole polnL of Lhe baslc rule so well
expressed by Mr. !usLlce !ackson ls LhaL prosecuLors and pollcemen slmply cannoL be
asked Lo malnLaln Lhe requlslLe neuLrallLy wlLh regard Lo Lhelr own lnvesLlgaLlons - Lhe
"compeLlLlve enLerprlse" LhaL musL rlghLly engage Lhelr slngle-mlnded aLLenLlon. 3 Cf.
Mancusl v. uelorLe, 392 u.S. 364, 371 . As for Lhe proposlLlon LhaL Lhe exlsLence of
probable cause renders noncompllance wlLh Lhe warranL procedure an lrrelevance, [403
u.S. 443, 431] lL ls enough Lo clLe Agnello v. unlLed SLaLes, 269 u.S. 20, 33 , declded ln
"8ellef, however well founded, LhaL an arLlcle soughL ls concealed ln a dwelllng house
furnlshes no [usLlflcaLlon for a search of LhaL place wlLhouL a warranL. And such searches
are held unlawful noLwlLhsLandlng facLs unquesLlonably showlng probable cause."
See also !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 493, 497 -498, SllverLhorne Lumber Co. v.
unlLed SLaLes, 231 u.S. 383, 392 . ("[1]he rlghLs . . . agalnsL unlawful search and selzure
are Lo be proLecLed even lf Lhe same resulL mlghL have been achleved ln a lawful way.")
8uL Lhe new Pampshlre Supreme CourL, ln upholdlng Lhe convlcLlon, relled upon Lhe
Lheory LhaL even lf Lhe warranL procedure here ln lssue would clearly vlolaLe Lhe
sLandards lmposed on Lhe lederal CovernmenL by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, lL ls noL
forbldden Lhe SLaLes under Lhe lourLeenLh. 1hls poslLlon was premlsed on a passage
from Lhe oplnlon of Lhls CourL ln ker v. Callfornla, 374 u.S. 23, 31 :
"Þrellmlnary Lo our examlnaLlon of Lhe search and selzures lnvolved here, lL mlghL be
helpful for us Lo lndlcaLe whaL was noL declded ln Mapp [v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 ]. llrsL, lL
musL be recognlzed LhaL Lhe `prlnclples governlng Lhe admlsslblllLy of evldence ln
federal crlmlnal Lrlals have noL been resLrlcLed . . . Lo Lhose derlved solely from Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon. ln Lhe exerclse of lLs supervlsory auLhorlLy over Lhe admlnlsLraLlon of
crlmlnal [usLlce ln Lhe federal courLs . . . Lhls CourL has . . . formulaLed rules of evldence
Lo be applled ln federal crlmlnal prosecuLlons.' Mcnabb v. unlLed SLaLes, 318 u.S. 332,
341 . . . Mapp, however, esLabllshed no assumpLlon by Lhls CourL of supervlsory
auLhorlLy over sLaLe courLs . . . and, consequenLly, lL lmplled no LoLal [403 u.S. 443,
432] obllLeraLlon of sLaLe laws relaLlng Lo arresLs and searches ln favor of federal law.
Mapp sounded no deaLh knell for our federallsm, raLher, lL echoed Lhe senLlmenL of
Llklns v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, aL 221, LhaL `a healLhy federallsm depends upon Lhe
avoldance of needless confllcL beLween sLaLe and federal courLs' by lLself urglng LhaL
`[f]ederal-sLaLe cooperaLlon ln Lhe soluLlon of crlme under consLlLuLlonal sLandards wlll
be promoLed, lf only by recognlLlon of Lhelr now muLual obllgaLlon Lo respecL Lhe same
fundamenLal crlLerla ln Lhelr approaches.' 367 u.S., aL 638 ." (Lmphasls ln ker.)
lL ls urged LhaL Lhe new Pampshlre sLaLuLes whlch aL Lhe Llme of Lhe searches here
lnvolved permlLLed a law enforcemenL offlcer hlmself Lo lssue a warranL was one of
Lhose "workable rules governlng arresLs, searches and selzures Lo meeL `Lhe pracLlcal
demands of effecLlve crlmlnal lnvesLlgaLlon and law enforcemenL' ln Lhe SLaLes," ld., aL
34, auLhorlzed by ker.
1haL such a procedure was lndeed workable from Lhe polnL of vlew of Lhe pollce ls
evldenL from LesLlmony aL Lhe Lrlal ln Lhls case:
"1he CourL: ?ou mean LhaL anoLher pollce offlcer lssues Lhese [search warranLs]?
"1he WlLness: ?es. CapLaln CouLure and CapLaln Shea and CapLaln Loveren are !. Þ.'s.
"1he CourL: Well, leL me ask you, Chlef, your answer ls Lo Lhe effecL LhaL you never go
ouL of Lhe deparLmenL for Lhe !usLlce of Lhe Þeace?
"1he WlLness: lL hasn'L been our - pollcy Lo go ouL of Lhe deparLmenL.
"C. 8lghL. ?our pollcy and experlence, ls Lo have a fellow pollce offlcer Lake Lhe warranL
ln Lhe capaclLy of !usLlce of Lhe Þeace?
"A. 1haL has been our pracLlce." [403 u.S. 443, 433]
8uL lL ls Loo plaln for exLenslve dlscusslon LhaL Lhls now abandoned new Pampshlre
meLhod of lssulng "search warranLs" vlolaLed a fundamenLal premlse of boLh Lhe lourLh
and lourLeenLh AmendmenLs - a premlse fully developed and arLlculaLed long before
Lhls CourL's declslons ln ker v. Callfornla, supra, and Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 . As Mr.
!usLlce lrankfurLer puL lL ln Wolf v. Colorado, 338 u.S. 23, 27 -28:
"1he securlLy of one's prlvacy agalnsL arblLrary lnLruslon by Lhe pollce - whlch ls aL Lhe
core of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL - ls baslc Lo a free socleLy. lL ls Lherefore lmpllclL ln `Lhe
concepL of ordered llberLy' and as such enforceable agalnsL Lhe SLaLes Lhrough Lhe uue
Þrocess Clause. 1he knock aL Lhe door, wheLher by day or by nlghL, as a prelude Lo a
search, wlLhouL auLhorlLy of law buL solely on Lhe auLhorlLy of Lhe pollce, dld noL need
Lhe commenLary of recenL hlsLory Lo be condemned . . . ."
We flnd no escape from Lhe concluslon LhaL Lhe selzure and search of Lhe ÞonLlac
auLomoblle cannoL consLlLuLlonally resL upon Lhe warranL lssued by Lhe sLaLe offlclal
who was Lhe chlef lnvesLlgaLor and prosecuLor ln Lhls case. Slnce he was noL Lhe neuLral
and deLached maglsLraLe requlred by Lhe ConsLlLuLlon, Lhe search sLands on no flrmer
ground Lhan lf Lhere had been no warranL aL all. lf Lhe selzure and search are Lo be
[usLlfled, Lhey musL, Lherefore, be [usLlfled on some oLher Lheory.
1he SLaLe proposes Lhree dlsLlncL Lheorles Lo brlng Lhe facLs of Lhls case wlLhln one or
anoLher of Lhe excepLlons Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL. ln conslderlng Lhem, we musL
noL lose slghL of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL's fundamenLal guaranLee. Mr. !usLlce 8radley's
admonlLlon ln hls oplnlon for Lhe CourL almosL a cenLury ago ln 8oyd [403 u.S. 443,
434] v. unlLed SLaLes, 116 u.S. 616, 633 , ls worLh repeaLlng here:
"lL may be LhaL lL ls Lhe obnoxlous Lhlng ln lLs mlldesL and leasL repulslve form, buL
llleglLlmaLe and unconsLlLuLlonal pracLlces geL Lhelr flrsL fooLlng ln LhaL way, namely, by
sllenL approaches and sllghL devlaLlons from legal modes of procedure. 1hls can only be
obvlaLed by adherlng Lo Lhe rule LhaL consLlLuLlonal provlslons for Lhe securlLy of person
and properLy should be llberally consLrued. A close and llLeral consLrucLlon deprlves
Lhem of half Lhelr efflcacy, and leads Lo gradual depreclaLlon of Lhe rlghL, as lf lL
conslsLed more ln sound Lhan ln subsLance. lL ls Lhe duLy of courLs Lo be waLchful for Lhe
consLlLuLlonal rlghLs of Lhe clLlzen, and agalnsL any sLealLhy encroachmenLs Lhereon." 4
1hus Lhe mosL baslc consLlLuLlonal rule ln Lhls area ls LhaL "searches conducLed ouLslde
Lhe [udlclal process, wlLhouL prlor approval by [udge or maglsLraLe, are per se [403 u.S.
443, 433] unreasonable under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL - sub[ecL only Lo a few
speclflcally esLabllshed and well-dellneaLed excepLlons." 3 1he excepLlons are "[ealously
and carefully drawn," 6 and Lhere musL be "a showlng by Lhose who seek exempLlon . . .
LhaL Lhe exlgencles of Lhe slLuaLlon made LhaL course lmperaLlve." 7 "[1]he burden ls on
Lhose seeklng Lhe exempLlon Lo show Lhe need for lL." 8 ln Llmes of unresL, wheLher
caused by crlme or raclal confllcL or fear of lnLernal subverslon, Lhls baslc law and Lhe
values LhaL lL represenLs may appear unreallsLlc or "exLravaganL" Lo some. 8uL Lhe
values were Lhose of Lhe auLhors of our fundamenLal consLlLuLlonal concepLs. ln Llmes
noL alLogeLher unllke our own Lhey won - by legal and consLlLuLlonal means ln
Lngland, 9 and by revoluLlon on Lhls conLlnenL - a rlghL of personal securlLy agalnsL
arblLrary lnLruslons by offlclal power. lf Llmes have changed, reduclng everyman's scope
Lo do as he pleases ln an urban and lndusLrlal world, Lhe changes have made Lhe values
served by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL more, noL less, lmporLanL. 10
1he SLaLe's flrsL Lheory ls LhaL Lhe selzure on lebruary 19 and subsequenL search of
Coolldge's ÞonLlac were "lncldenL" Lo a valld arresL. We assume LhaL Lhe arresL of
Coolldge lnslde hls house was valld, so LhaL Lhe flrsL condlLlon of a warranLless "search
lncldenL" ls meL. WhlLeley v. Warden, 401 u.S. 360, 367 n. 11. And slnce Lhe evenLs ln
lssue Look place ln 1964, we assess Lhe SLaLe's argumenL [403 u.S. 443, 436] ln Lerms of
Lhe law as lL exlsLed before Chlmel v. Callfornla, 393 u.S. 732 , whlch subsLanLlally
resLrlcLed Lhe "search lncldenL" excepLlon Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL, buL dld so only
prospecLlvely. Wllllams v. unlLed SLaLes, 401 u.S. 646 . 8uL even under pre-Chlmel law,
Lhe SLaLe's poslLlon ls unLenable.
1he leadlng case ln Lhe area before Chlmel was unlLed SLaLes v. 8ablnowlLz, 339 u.S. 36 ,
whlch was Laken Lo sLand "for Lhe proposlLlon, lnLer alla, LhaL a warranLless search
`lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL' may generally exLend Lo Lhe area LhaL ls consldered Lo be ln
Lhe `possesslon' or under Lhe `conLrol' of Lhe person arresLed." Chlmel, supra, aL 760. ln
Lhls case, Coolldge was arresLed lnslde hls house, hls car was ouLslde ln Lhe drlveway.
1he car was noL Louched unLll Coolldge had been removed from Lhe scene. lL was Lhen
selzed and Laken Lo Lhe sLaLlon, buL lL was noL acLually searched unLll Lwo days laLer.
llrsL, lL ls doubLful wheLher Lhe pollce could have carrled ouL a conLemporaneous search
of Lhe car under 8ablnowlLz sLandards. lor Lhls CourL has repeaLedly held LhaL, even
under 8ablnowlLz, "[a] search may be lncldenL Lo an arresL `"only lf lL ls subsLanLlally
conLemporaneous wlLh Lhe arresL and ls conflned Lo Lhe lmmedlaLe vlclnlLy of Lhe arresL.
. . ."'" vale v. Loulslana, 399 u.S. 30, 33 , quoLlng from Shlpley v. Callfornla,393 u.S. 818,
819 , quoLlng from SLoner v. Callfornla, 376 u.S. 483, 486 . (Lmphasls ln Shlpley.) Cf.
Agnello v. unlLed SLaLes, 269 u.S., aL 30 -31, !ames v. Loulslana, 382 u.S. 36 . 1hese
cases make lL clear beyond any quesLlon LhaL a lawful pre-Chlmel arresL of a suspecL
ouLslde hls house could never by lLself [usLlfy a warranLless search lnslde Lhe house.
1here ls noLhlng ln search-lncldenL docLrlne (as opposed Lo Lhe speclal rules for
auLomoblles and evldence ln "plaln vlew," Lo be consldered below) LhaL suggesLs [403
u.S. 443, 437] a dlfferenL resulL where Lhe arresL ls made lnslde Lhe house and Lhe
search ouLslde and aL some dlsLance away. 11
Lven assumlng, arguendo, LhaL Lhe pollce mlghL have searched Lhe ÞonLlac ln Lhe
drlveway when Lhey arresLed Coolldge ln Lhe house, ÞresLon v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S.
364 , makes plaln LhaL Lhey could noL legally selze Lhe car, remove lL, and search lL aL
Lhelr lelsure wlLhouL a warranL. ln clrcumsLances vlrLually ldenLlcal Lo Lhose here, M8.
!uS1lCL 8LACk'S oplnlon for a unanlmous CourL held LhaL "[o]nce an accused ls under
arresL and ln cusLody, Lhen a search [of hls car] made aL anoLher place, wlLhouL a
warranL, ls slmply noL lncldenL Lo Lhe arresL." ld., aL 367. uyke v. 1aylor lmplemenL Mfg.
Co., 391 u.S. 216 Cf. Chambers v. Maroney, 399 u.S. 42, 47 . Search-lncldenL docLrlne, ln
shorL, has no appllcablllLy Lo Lhls case. 12 [403 u.S. 443, 438]
1he second Lheory puL forward by Lhe SLaLe Lo [usLlfy a warranLless selzure and search
of Lhe ÞonLlac car ls LhaL under Carroll v. unlLed SLaLes, 267 u.S. 132 , Lhe pollce may
make a warranLless search of an auLomoblle whenever Lhey have probable cause Lo do
so, and, under our declslon lasL 1erm ln Chambers v. Maroney, 399 u.S. 42 , whenever
Lhe pollce may make a legal conLemporaneous search under Carroll, Lhey may also selze
Lhe car, Lake lL Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon, and search lL Lhere. 8uL even granLlng LhaL Lhe
pollce had probable cause Lo search Lhe car, Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe Carroll case Lo Lhese
facLs would exLend lL far beyond lLs orlglnal raLlonale.
Carroll dld lndeed hold LhaL "conLraband goods concealed and lllegally LransporLed ln an
auLomoblle or oLher vehlcle may be searched for wlLhouL a warranL," 13 provlded LhaL
"Lhe selzlng offlcer shall have reasonable or probable cause for bellevlng LhaL Lhe
auLomoblle whlch he sLops and selzes has conLraband llquor Lhereln whlch ls belng
lllegally LransporLed." 14 Such searches had been expllclLly auLhorlzed by Congress, and,
as we have polnLed ouL elsewhere, 13 ln Lhe condlLlons of Lhe Llme "[a]n auLomoblle . . .
was an almosL lndlspensable lnsLrumenLallLy ln large-scale vlolaLlon of Lhe naLlonal
ÞrohlblLlon AcL, and Lhe car lLself Lherefore was LreaLed somewhaL as an offender and
became conLraband." ln Lwo laLer cases, 16 each lnvolvlng an occupled auLomoblle
sLopped on Lhe open hlghway and searched for conLraband [403 u.S. 443, 439] llquor,
Lhe CourL followed and reafflrmed Carroll. 17 And lasL 1erm ln Chambers, supra, we dld
so agaln.
1he underlylng raLlonale of Carroll and of all Lhe cases LhaL have followed lL ls LhaL Lhere
"a necessary dlfference beLween a search of a sLore, dwelllng house or oLher sLrucLure
ln respecL of whlch a proper offlclal warranL readlly may be obLalned, and a search of a
shlp, moLor boaL, wagon or auLomoblle, [403 u.S. 443, 460] for conLraband goods,
where lL ls noL pracLlcable Lo secure a warranL because Lhe vehlcle can be qulckly moved
ouL of Lhe locallLy or [urlsdlcLlon ln whlch Lhe warranL musL be soughL." 267 u.S., aL 133 .
(Lmphasls supplled.)
As we sald ln Chambers, supra, aL 31, "exlgenL clrcumsLances" [usLlfy Lhe warranLless
search of "an auLomoblle sLopped on Lhe hlghway," where Lhere ls probable cause,
because Lhe car ls "movable, Lhe occupanLs are alerLed, and Lhe car's conLenLs may
never be found agaln lf a warranL musL be obLalned." "[1]he opporLunlLy Lo search ls
fleeLlng . . . ." (Lmphasls supplled.)
ln Lhls case, Lhe pollce had known for some Llme of Lhe probable role of Lhe ÞonLlac car
ln Lhe crlme. Coolldge was aware LhaL he was a suspecL ln Lhe Mason murder, buL he
had been exLremely cooperaLlve LhroughouL Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon, and Lhere was no
lndlcaLlon LhaL he meanL Lo flee. Pe had already had ample opporLunlLy Lo desLroy any
evldence he LhoughL lncrlmlnaLlng. 1here ls no suggesLlon LhaL, on Lhe nlghL ln quesLlon,
Lhe car was belng used for any lllegal purpose, and lL was regularly parked ln Lhe
drlveway of hls house. 1he opporLunlLy for search was Lhus hardly "fleeLlng." 1he
ob[ecLs LhaL Lhe pollce are assumed Lo have had probable cause Lo search for ln Lhe car
were nelLher sLolen nor conLraband nor dangerous.
When Lhe pollce arrlved aL Lhe Coolldge house Lo arresL hlm, Lwo offlcers were senL Lo
guard Lhe back door whlle Lhe maln parLy approached from Lhe fronL. Coolldge was
arresLed lnslde Lhe house, wlLhouL reslsLance of any klnd on hls parL, afLer he had
volunLarlly admlLLed Lhe offlcers aL boLh fronL and back doors. 1here was no way ln
whlch he could concelvably have galned access Lo Lhe auLomoblle afLer Lhe pollce
arrlved on hls properLy. When Coolldge had been Laken away, Lhe pollce lnformed Mrs.
Coolldge, Lhe only oLher adulL occupanL of Lhe[403 u.S. 443, 461] house, LhaL she and
her baby had Lo spend Lhe nlghL elsewhere and LhaL she could noL use elLher of Lhe
Coolldge cars. 1wo pollce offlcers Lhen drove her ln a pollce car Lo Lhe house of a
relaLlve ln anoLher Lown, and Lhey sLayed wlLh her Lhere unLll around mldnlghL, long
afLer Lhe pollce had had Lhe ÞonLlac Lowed Lo Lhe sLaLlon house. 1he Coolldge premlses
were guarded LhroughouL Lhe nlghL by Lwo pollcemen. 18
1he word "auLomoblle" ls noL a Lallsman ln whose presence Lhe lourLh AmendmenL
fades away and dlsappears.[403 u.S. 443, 462] And surely Lhere ls noLhlng ln Lhls case
Lo lnvoke Lhe meanlng and purpose of Lhe rule of Carroll v. unlLed SLaLes - no alerLed
crlmlnal benL on fllghL, no fleeLlng opporLunlLy on an open hlghway afLer a hazardous
chase, no conLraband or sLolen goods or weapons, no confederaLes walLlng Lo move Lhe
evldence, noL even Lhe lnconvenlence of a speclal pollce deLall Lo guard Lhe lmmoblllzed
auLomoblle. ln shorL, by no posslble sLreLch of Lhe legal lmaglnaLlon can Lhls be made
lnLo a case where "lL ls noL pracLlcable Lo secure a warranL," Carroll, supra, aL 133, and
Lhe "auLomoblle excepLlon," desplLe lLs label, ls slmply lrrelevanL. 19 [403 u.S. 443,
Slnce Carroll would noL have [usLlfled a warranLless search of Lhe ÞonLlac aL Lhe Llme
Coolldge was arresLed, Lhe laLer search aL Lhe sLaLlon house was plalnly lllegal, aL leasL
so far as Lhe auLomoblle excepLlon ls concerned. Chambers, supra, ls of no help Lo Lhe
SLaLe, slnce LhaL case held only LhaL, where Lhe pollce may sLop and search an
auLomoblle under Carroll, Lhey may also selze lL and search lL laLer aL Lhe pollce
sLaLlon. 20 8aLher, Lhls case ls conLrolled by uyke v. 1aylor lmplemenL Mfg. Co., supra.
1here Lhe pollce lacked probable cause Lo selze or search Lhe defendanL's auLomoblle aL
Lhe Llme of hls [403 u.S. 443, 464] arresL, and Lhls was enough by lLself Lo condemn Lhe
subsequenL search aL Lhe sLaLlon house. Pere Lhere was probable cause, buL no exlgenL
clrcumsLances [usLlfled Lhe pollce ln proceedlng wlLhouL a warranL. As ln uyke, Lhe laLer
search aL Lhe sLaLlon house was Lherefore lllegal. 21
1he SLaLe's Lhlrd Lheory ln supporL of Lhe warranLless selzure and search of Lhe ÞonLlac
car ls LhaL Lhe car lLself was an "lnsLrumenLallLy of Lhe crlme," and as such mlghL be
selzed by Lhe pollce on Coolldge's properLy because lL was ln plaln vlew. Supposlng Lhe
selzure Lo be Lhus lawful, Lhe case of Cooper v. Callfornla, 386 u.S. 38 , ls sald Lo supporL
a subsequenL warranLless search aL Lhe sLaLlon house, wlLh or wlLhouL probable cause.
Cf course, Lhe dlsLlncLlon beLween an "lnsLrumenLallLy of crlme" and "mere evldence"
was done away wlLh by Warden v. Payden, 387 u.S. 294 , and we may assume LhaL Lhe
pollce had probable cause Lo selze Lhe auLomoblle. 22 8uL, for Lhe reasons LhaL follow,
we hold LhaL Lhe "plaln vlew" excepLlon Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL ls lnappllcable Lo
Lhls case. Slnce Lhe selzure was Lherefore [403 u.S. 443, 463] lllegal, lL ls unnecessary Lo
conslder Lhe appllcablllLy of Cooper, supra, Lo Lhe subsequenL search. 23
lL ls well esLabllshed LhaL under cerLaln clrcumsLances Lhe pollce may selze evldence ln
plaln vlew wlLhouL a warranL. 8uL lL ls lmporLanL Lo keep ln mlnd LhaL, ln Lhe vasL
ma[orlLy of cases, any evldence selzed by Lhe pollce wlll be ln plaln vlew, aL leasL aL Lhe
momenL of selzure. 1he problem wlLh Lhe "plaln vlew" docLrlne has been Lo ldenLlfy Lhe
clrcumsLances ln whlch plaln vlew has legal slgnlflcance raLher Lhan belng slmply Lhe
normal concomlLanL of any search, legal or lllegal.
An example of Lhe appllcablllLy of Lhe "plaln vlew" docLrlne ls Lhe slLuaLlon ln whlch Lhe
pollce have a warranL Lo search a glven area for speclfled ob[ecLs, and ln Lhe course of
Lhe search come across some oLher arLlcle of lncrlmlnaLlng characLer. Cf. Co-8arL
lmporLlng Co. v. unlLed SLaLes, 282 u.S. 344, 338 , unlLed SLaLes v. LefkowlLz, 283 u.S.
432, 463 , SLeele v. unlLed SLaLes, 267 u.S. 498 , SLanley v. Ceorgla, 394 u.S. 337,
371(S1LWA81, !., concurrlng ln resulL). Where Lhe lnlLlal lnLruslon LhaL brlngs Lhe pollce
wlLhln plaln vlew of such an arLlcle ls supporLed, noL by a warranL, buL by one of Lhe
recognlzed excepLlons Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL, Lhe selzure ls also leglLlmaLe. 1hus
Lhe pollce may lnadverLenLly come across evldence whlle ln "hoL pursulL" of a fleelng
suspecL. Warden v. Payden, supra, cf. PesLer v. unlLed SLaLes, 263 u.S. 37 . And an
ob[ecL LhaL comes lnLo vlew durlng a search lncldenL Lo arresL LhaL ls approprlaLely
llmlLed ln scope under exlsLlng law may be selzed wlLhouL a warranL. 24 Chlmel v.
Callfornla, 393 Þage 466 u.S., aL 762 -763. llnally, Lhe "plaln vlew" docLrlne has been
applled where a pollce offlcer ls noL searchlng for evldence agalnsL Lhe accused, buL
noneLheless lnadverLenLly comes across an lncrlmlnaLlng ob[ecL. Parrls v. unlLed
SLaLes, 390 u.S. 234 , lrazler v. Cupp, 394 u.S. 731 , ker v. Callfornla, 374 u.S., aL 43 . Cf.
Lewls v. unlLed SLaLes, 383 u.S. 206 .
WhaL Lhe "plaln vlew" cases have ln common ls LhaL Lhe pollce offlcer ln each of Lhem
had a prlor [usLlflcaLlon for an lnLruslon ln Lhe course of whlch he came lnadverLenLly
across a plece of evldence lncrlmlnaLlng Lhe accused. 1he docLrlne serves Lo supplemenL
Lhe prlor [usLlflcaLlon - wheLher lL be a warranL for anoLher ob[ecL, hoL pursulL, search
lncldenL Lo lawful arresL, or some oLher leglLlmaLe reason for belng presenL
unconnecLed wlLh a search dlrecLed agalnsL Lhe accused - and permlLs Lhe warranLless
selzure. Cf course, Lhe exLenslon of Lhe orlglnal [usLlflcaLlon ls leglLlmaLe only where lL ls
lmmedlaLely apparenL Lo Lhe pollce LhaL Lhey have evldence before Lhem, Lhe "plaln
vlew" docLrlne may noL be used Lo exLend a general exploraLory search from one ob[ecL
Lo anoLher unLll someLhlng lncrlmlnaLlng aL lasL emerges. [403 u.S. 443, 467] Cf.
SLanley v. Ceorgla, supra, aL 371-372 (S1LWA81, !., concurrlng ln resulL).
1he raLlonale for Lhe "plaln vlew" excepLlon ls evldenL lf we keep ln mlnd Lhe Lwo
dlsLlncL consLlLuLlonal proLecLlons served by Lhe warranL requlremenL. llrsL, Lhe
maglsLraLe's scruLlny ls lnLended Lo ellmlnaLe alLogeLher searches noL based on probable
cause. 1he premlse here ls LhaL any lnLruslon ln Lhe way of search or selzure ls an evll, so
LhaL no lnLruslon aL all ls [usLlfled wlLhouL a careful prlor deLermlnaLlon of necesslLy.
See, e. g., Mcuonald v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 431 , Warden v. Payden, 387 u.S. 294 ,
kaLz v. unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347 , Chlmel v. Callfornla, 393 u.S., aL 761 -762. 1he
second, dlsLlncL ob[ecLlve ls LhaL Lhose searches deemed necessary should be as llmlLed
as posslble. Pere, Lhe speclflc evll ls Lhe "general warranL" abhorred by Lhe colonlsLs,
and Lhe problem ls noL LhaL of lnLruslon per se, buL of a general, exploraLory rummaglng
ln a person's belonglngs. See, e. g., 8oyd v. unlLed SLaLes, 116 u.S., aL 624 -630, Marron
v. unlLed SLaLes, 273 u.S. 192, 193-196, SLanford v. 1exas, 379 u.S. 476 . 1he warranL
accompllshes Lhls second ob[ecLlve by requlrlng a "parLlcular descrlpLlon" of Lhe Lhlngs
Lo be selzed.
1he "plaln vlew" docLrlne ls noL ln confllcL wlLh Lhe flrsL ob[ecLlve because plaln vlew
does noL occur unLll a search ls ln progress. ln each case, Lhls lnlLlal lnLruslon ls [usLlfled
by a warranL or by an excepLlon such as "hoL pursulL" or search lncldenL Lo a lawful
arresL, or by an exLraneous valld reason for Lhe offlcer's presence. And, glven Lhe lnlLlal
lnLruslon, Lhe selzure of an ob[ecL ln plaln vlew ls conslsLenL wlLh Lhe second ob[ecLlve,
slnce lL does noL converL Lhe search lnLo a general or exploraLory one. As agalnsL Lhe
mlnor perll Lo lourLh AmendmenL proLecLlons, Lhere ls a ma[or galn ln effecLlve law
enforcemenL. Where, once an oLherwlse lawful search ls ln progress, Lhe pollce
lnadverLenLly come upon [403 u.S. 443, 468] a plece of evldence, lL would ofLen be a
needless lnconvenlence, and someLlmes dangerous - Lo Lhe evldence or Lo Lhe pollce
Lhemselves - Lo requlre Lhem Lo lgnore lL unLll Lhey have obLalned a warranL parLlcularly
descrlblng lL.
1he llmlLs on Lhe docLrlne are lmpllclL ln Lhe sLaLemenL of lLs raLlonale. 1he flrsL of Lhese
ls LhaL plaln vlew alone ls never enough Lo [usLlfy Lhe warranLless selzure of evldence.
1hls ls slmply a corollary of Lhe famlllar prlnclple dlscussed above, LhaL no amounL of
probable cause can [usLlfy a warranLless search or selzure absenL "exlgenL
clrcumsLances." lnconLroverLlble LesLlmony of Lhe senses LhaL an lncrlmlnaLlng ob[ecL ls
on premlses belonglng Lo a crlmlnal suspecL may esLabllsh Lhe fullesL posslble measure
of probable cause. 8uL even where Lhe ob[ecL ls conLraband, Lhls CourL has repeaLedly
sLaLed and enforced Lhe baslc rule LhaL Lhe pollce may noL enLer and make a warranLless
selzure. 1aylor v. unlLed SLaLes, 286 u.S. 1 , !ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10 ,
Mcuonald v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 431 , !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 493, 497 -498,
Chapman v. unlLed SLaLes, 363 u.S. 610 , 1ruplano v. unlLed SLaLes, 334 u.S.
699 . 23 [403 u.S. 443, 469]
1he second llmlLaLlon ls LhaL Lhe dlscovery of evldence ln plaln vlew musL be
lnadverLenL. 26 1he raLlonale of Lhe excepLlon Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL, as [usL
sLaLed, [403 u.S. 443, 470] ls LhaL a plaln-vlew selzure wlll noL Lurn an lnlLlally valld (and
Lherefore llmlLed) search lnLo a "general" one, whlle Lhe lnconvenlence of procurlng a
warranL Lo cover an lnadverLenL dlscovery ls greaL. 8uL where Lhe dlscovery ls
anLlclpaLed, where Lhe pollce know ln advance Lhe locaLlon of Lhe evldence and lnLend
Lo selze lL, Lhe slLuaLlon ls alLogeLher dlfferenL. 1he requlremenL of a warranL Lo selze
lmposes no lnconvenlence whaLever, or aL leasL none whlch ls consLlLuLlonally
cognlzable ln a legal sysLem LhaL regards warranLless searches as "per se [403 u.S. 443,
471] unreasonable" ln Lhe absence of "exlgenL clrcumsLances."
lf Lhe lnlLlal lnLruslon ls boLLomed upon a warranL LhaL falls Lo menLlon a parLlcular
ob[ecL, Lhough Lhe pollce know lLs locaLlon and lnLend Lo selze lL, Lhen Lhere ls a
vlolaLlon of Lhe express consLlLuLlonal requlremenL of "WarranLs . . . parLlcularly
descrlblng . . . [Lhe] Lhlngs Lo be selzed." 1he lnlLlal lnLruslon may, of course, be
leglLlmaLed noL by a warranL buL by one of Lhe excepLlons Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL,
such as hoL pursulL or search lncldenL Lo lawful arresL. 8uL Lo exLend Lhe scope of such
an lnLruslon Lo Lhe selzure of ob[ecLs - noL conLraband nor sLolen nor dangerous ln
Lhemselves - whlch Lhe pollce know ln advance Lhey wlll flnd ln plaln vlew and lnLend Lo
selze, would fly ln Lhe face of Lhe baslc rule LhaL no amounL of probable cause can [usLlfy
a warranLless selzure. 27 [403 u.S. 443, 472]
ln Lhe llghL of whaL has been sald, lL ls apparenL LhaL Lhe "plaln vlew" excepLlon cannoL
[usLlfy Lhe pollce selzure of Lhe ÞonLlac car ln Lhls case. 1he pollce had ample
opporLunlLy Lo obLaln a valld warranL, Lhey knew Lhe auLomoblle's exacL descrlpLlon and
locaLlon well ln advance, Lhey lnLended Lo selze lL when Lhey came upon Coolldge's
properLy. And Lhls ls noL a case lnvolvlng conLraband or sLolen goods or ob[ecLs
dangerous ln Lhemselves. 28 [403 u.S. 443, 473]
1he selzure was Lherefore unconsLlLuLlonal, and so was Lhe subsequenL search aL Lhe
sLaLlon house. Slnce evldence obLalned ln Lhe course of Lhe search was admlLLed aL
Coolldge's Lrlal, Lhe [udgmenL musL be reversed and Lhe case remanded Lo Lhe new
Pampshlre Supreme CourL. Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 .
ln hls dlssenLlng oplnlon Loday, M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L marshals Lhe argumenLs LhaL can be
made agalnsL our lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe "auLomoblle" and "plaln vlew" excepLlons Lo Lhe
warranL requlremenL. 8eyond Lhe [403 u.S. 443, 474] unsLarLllng proposlLlon LhaL
when a llne ls drawn Lhere ls ofLen noL a greaL deal of dlfference beLween Lhe slLuaLlons
closesL Lo lL on elLher slde, Lhere ls a slngle Lheme LhaL runs Lhrough whaL he has Lo say
abouL Lhe Lwo excepLlons. Slnce LhaL Lheme ls a recurrlng one ln conLroversles over Lhe
proper meanlng and scope of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, lL seems approprlaLe Lo LreaL hls
vlews ln Lhls separaLe secLlon, raLher Lhan plecemeal.
Much Lhe mosL lmporLanL parL of Lhe confllcL LhaL has been so noLable ln Lhls CourL's
aLLempLs over a hundred years Lo develop a coherenL body of lourLh AmendmenL law
has been caused by dlsagreemenL over Lhe lmporLance of requlrlng law enforcemenL
offlcers Lo secure warranLs. Some have argued LhaL a deLermlnaLlon by a maglsLraLe of
probable cause as a precondlLlon of any search or selzure ls so essenLlal LhaL Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL ls vlolaLed whenever Lhe pollce mlghL reasonably have obLalned a warranL
buL falled Lo do so. CLhers have argued wlLh equal force LhaL a LesL of reasonableness,
applled afLer Lhe facL of search or selzure when Lhe pollce aLLempL Lo lnLroduce Lhe
frulLs ln evldence, affords ample safeguard for Lhe rlghLs ln quesLlon, so LhaL "[L]he
relevanL LesL ls noL wheLher lL ls reasonable Lo procure a search warranL, buL wheLher
Lhe search was reasonable." 29
8oLh sldes Lo Lhe conLroversy appear Lo recognlze a dlsLlncLlon beLween searches and
selzures LhaL Lake place on a man's properLy - hls home or offlce - and Lhose carrled ouL
elsewhere. lL ls accepLed, aL leasL as a maLLer of prlnclple, LhaL a search or selzure
carrled ouL on a suspecL's premlses wlLhouL a warranL ls per se unreasonable, unless Lhe
pollce can show LhaL lL falls wlLhln one of a carefully deflned seL of excepLlons based on
Lhe [403 u.S. 443, 473] presence of "exlgenL clrcumsLances." 30 As Lo oLher klnds of
lnLruslons, however, Lhere has been dlsagreemenL abouL Lhe baslc rules Lo be applled,
as our cases concernlng auLomoblle searches, elecLronlc survelllance, sLreeL searches
and admlnlsLraLlve searches make clear. 31
WlLh respecL Lo searches and selzures carrled ouL on a suspecL's premlses, Lhe confllcL
has been over Lhe quesLlon of whaL quallfles as an "exlgenL clrcumsLance." lL mlghL
appear LhaL Lhe dlfflculL lnqulry would be when lL ls LhaL Lhe pollce can enLer upon a
person's properLy Lo selze hls "person . . . papers, and effecLs," wlLhouL prlor [udlclal
approval. 1he quesLlon of Lhe scope of search and selzure once Lhe pollce are on Lhe
premlses would appear Lo be subsldlary Lo Lhe baslc lssue of when lnLruslon ls
permlsslble. 8uL Lhe law has noL developed ln Lhls fashlon.
1he mosL common slLuaLlon ln whlch lourLh AmendmenL lssues have arlsen has been
LhaL ln whlch Lhe pollce enLer Lhe suspecL's premlses, arresL hlm, and Lhen carry ouL a
warranLless search and selzure of evldence. Where Lhere ls a warranL for Lhe suspecL's
arresL, Lhe evldence selzed may laLer be challenged elLher on Lhe ground LhaL Lhe
warranL was lmproperly lssued because Lhere was noL probable cause, 32 or on Lhe
ground LhaL Lhe pollce search and selzure wenL beyond LhaL whlch Lhey could carry ouL
as an lncldenL Lo Lhe execuLlon of Lhe arresL warranL. 33 Where Lhe pollce acL wlLhouL
an [403 u.S. 443, 476] arresL warranL, Lhe suspecL may argue LhaL an arresL warranL
was necessary, LhaL Lhere was no probable cause Lo arresL, 34 or LhaL even lf Lhe arresL
was valld, Lhe search and selzure wenL beyond permlsslble llmlLs. 33 Þerhaps because
each of Lhese llnes of aLLack offers a pleLhora of llLlgable lssues, Lhe more fundamenLal
quesLlon of when Lhe pollce may arresL a man ln hls house wlLhouL a warranL has been
llLLle consldered ln Lhe federal courLs. 1hls CourL has chosen on a number of occaslons
Lo assume Lhe valldlLy of an arresL and declde Lhe case before lL on Lhe lssue of Lhe
scope of permlsslble warranLless search. L. g., Chlmel v. Callfornla, supra. 1he more
common lnqulry has Lherefore been: "Assumlng a valld pollce enLry for purposes of
arresL, whaL searches and selzures may Lhe pollce carry ouL wlLhouL prlor auLhorlzaLlon
by a maglsLraLe?"
1wo very broad, and sharply conLrasLlng answers Lo Lhls quesLlon have been assayed by
Lhls CourL ln Lhe pasL. 1he answer of 1ruplano v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, was LhaL no
searches and selzures could be leglLlmaLed by Lhe mere facL of valld enLry for purposes
of arresL, so long as Lhere was no showlng of speclal dlfflculLles ln obLalnlng a warranL
for search and selzure. 1he conLrasLlng answer ln Parrls v. unlLed SLaLes, 331 u.S. 143 ,
and unlLed SLaLes v. 8ablnowlLz, supra, was LhaL a valld enLry for purposes of arresL
served Lo leglLlmaLe warranLless searches and selzures LhroughouL Lhe premlses where
Lhe arresL occurred, however spaclous Lhose premlses mlghL be.
1he approach Laken ln Parrls and 8ablnowlLz was open Lo Lhe crlLlclsm LhaL lL made lL so
easy for Lhe pollce Lo arrange Lo search a man's premlses wlLhouL a warranL [403 u.S.
443, 477] LhaL Lhe ConsLlLuLlon's proLecLlon of a man's "effecLs" became a dead leLLer.
1he approach Laken ln 1ruplano, on Lhe oLher hand, was open Lo Lhe crlLlclsm LhaL lL was
absurd Lo permlL Lhe pollce Lo make an enLry ln Lhe dead of nlghL for purposes of selzlng
Lhe "person" by maln force, and Lhen refuse Lhem permlsslon Lo selze ob[ecLs lylng
around ln plaln slghL. lL ls arguable LhaL lf Lhe very subsLanLlal lnLruslon lmplled ln Lhe
enLry and arresL are "reasonable" ln lourLh AmendmenL Lerms, Lhen Lhe less lnLruslve
search lncldenL Lo arresL musL also be reasonable.
1hls argumenL agalnsL Lhe 1ruplano approach ls of llLLle force so long as lL ls assumed
LhaL Lhe pollce musL, ln Lhe absence of one of a number of deflned excepLlons based on
"exlgenL clrcumsLances," obLaln an arresL warranL before enLerlng a man's house Lo
selze hls person. lf Lhe lourLh AmendmenL requlres a warranL Lo enLer and selze Lhe
person, Lhen lL makes sense as well Lo requlre a warranL Lo selze oLher lLems LhaL may
be on Lhe premlses. 1he slLuaLlon ls dlfferenL, however, lf Lhe pollce are under no
clrcumsLances requlred Lo obLaln an arresL warranL before enLerlng Lo arresL a person
Lhey have probable cause Lo belleve has commlLLed a felony. lf no warranL ls ever
requlred Lo leglLlmaLe Lhe exLremely serlous lnLruslon of a mldnlghL enLry Lo selze Lhe
person, Lhen lL can be argued plauslbly LhaL a warranL should never be requlred Lo
leglLlmaLe a very sweeplng search lncldenL Lo such an enLry and arresL. lf Lhe arresL
wlLhouL a warranL ls per se reasonable under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, Lhen lL ls dlfflculL
Lo percelve why a search lncldenL ln Lhe sLyle of Parrls and 8ablnowlLz ls noL per se
reasonable as well.
lL ls clear, Lhen, LhaL Lhe noLlon LhaL Lhe warranLless enLry of a man's house ln order Lo
arresL hlm on probable cause ls per se leglLlmaLe ls ln fundamenLal confllcL wlLh Lhe
baslc prlnclple of lourLh AmendmenL law LhaL[403 u.S. 443, 478] searches and selzures
lnslde a man's house wlLhouL warranL are per se unreasonable ln Lhe absence of some
one of a number of well deflned "exlgenL clrcumsLances." 1hls confllcL came Lo Lhe fore
ln Chlmel v. Callfornla, supra. 1he CourL Lhere applled Lhe baslc rule LhaL Lhe "search
lncldenL Lo arresL" ls an excepLlon Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL and LhaL lLs scope musL
Lherefore be sLrlcLly deflned ln Lerms of Lhe [usLlfylng "exlgenL clrcumsLances." 1he
exlgency ln quesLlon arlses from Lhe dangers of harm Lo Lhe arresLlng offlcer and of
desLrucLlon of evldence wlLhln Lhe reach of Lhe arresLee. nelLher exlgency can
concelvably [usLlfy Lhe far-ranglng searches auLhorlzed under Parrls and 8ablnowlLz. 1he
answer of Lhe dlssenLlng oplnlon of M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L ln Chlmel, supporLed by no
declslon of Lhls CourL, was LhaL a warranLless enLry for Lhe purpose of arresL on
probable cause ls leglLlmaLe and reasonable no maLLer whaL Lhe clrcumsLances. 393
u.S., aL 776 -780. lrom Lhls lL was sald Lo follow LhaL Lhe full-scale search lncldenL Lo
arresL was also reasonable slnce lL was a lesser lnLruslon. 393 u.S., aL 772 -773.
1he same confllcL arlses ln Lhls case. Slnce Lhe pollce knew of Lhe presence of Lhe
auLomoblle and planned all along Lo selze lL, Lhere was no "exlgenL clrcumsLance" Lo
[usLlfy Lhelr fallure Lo obLaln a warranL. 1he appllcaLlon of Lhe baslc rule of lourLh
AmendmenL law Lherefore requlres LhaL Lhe frulLs of Lhe warranLless selzure be
suppressed. M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L's dlssenLlng oplnlon, however, argues once agaln LhaL
so long as Lhe pollce could reasonably make a warranLless nlghLLlme enLry onLo
Coolldge's properLy ln order Lo arresL hlm, wlLh no showlng aL all of an emergency, Lhen
lL ls absurd Lo prevenL Lhem from selzlng hls auLomoblle as evldence of Lhe crlme.
M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L Lakes a baslcally slmllar approach Lo Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe
search of Lhe auLomoblle ln [403 u.S. 443, 479] Lhls case can be [usLlfled under Carroll
v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, and Chambers v. Maroney, supra. Carroll, on lLs face, appears Lo
be a classlc example of Lhe docLrlne LhaL warranLless searches are per se unreasonable
ln Lhe absence of exlgenL clrcumsLances. Lvery word ln Lhe oplnlon lndlcaLes Lhe CourL's
adherence Lo Lhe underlylng rule and lLs care ln dellneaLlng a llmlLed excepLlon. 8ead
Lhus, Lhe case qulLe evldenLly does noL exLend Lo Lhe slLuaLlon aL bar. ?eL lf we Lake Lhe
vlewpolnL of a [udge called on only Lo declde ln Lhe absLracL, afLer Lhe facL, wheLher Lhe
pollce have behaved "reasonably" under all Lhe clrcumsLances - ln shorL lf we slmply
lgnore Lhe warranL requlremenL - Carroll comes Lo sLand for someLhlng more. 1he
sLopplng of a vehlcle on Lhe open hlghway and a subsequenL search amounL Lo a ma[or
lnLerference ln Lhe llves of Lhe occupanLs. Carroll held such an lnLerference Lo be
reasonable wlLhouL a warranL, glven probable cause. lL may be LhoughL Lo follow a
forLlorl LhaL Lhe selzure and search here - where Lhere was no sLopplng and Lhe vehlcle
was unoccupled - were also reasonable, slnce Lhe lnLruslon was less subsLanLlal,
alLhough Lhere were no exlgenL clrcumsLances whaLever. uslng reasonlng of Lhls sorL, lL
ls buL a shorL sLep Lo Lhe poslLlon LhaL lL ls never necessary for Lhe pollce Lo obLaln a
warranL before searchlng and selzlng an auLomoblle, provlded LhaL Lhey have probable
cause. And M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L appears Lo adopL exacLly Lhls vlew when he proposes
LhaL Lhe CourL should "LreaL searches of auLomoblles as we do Lhe arresL of a person."
lf we were Lo accepL M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L'S vlew LhaL warranLless enLry for purposes of
arresL and warranLless selzure and search of auLomoblles are per se reasonable, so long
as Lhe pollce have probable cause, lL would be dlfflculL Lo see Lhe basls for dlsLlngulshlng
searches of houses and selzures of effecLs. lf lL ls reasonable for Lhe pollce Lo make a
warranLless nlghLLlme enLry for Lhe purpose [403 u.S. 443, 480] of arresLlng a person ln
hls bed, Lhen surely lL musL be reasonable as well Lo make a warranLless enLry Lo search
for and selze vlLal evldence of a serlous crlme. lf Lhe pollce may, wlLhouL a warranL, selze
and search an unoccupled vehlcle parked on Lhe owner's prlvaLe properLy, noL belng
used for any lllegal purpose, Lhen lL ls hard Lo see why Lhey need a warranL Lo selze and
search a sulLcase, a Lrunk, a shopplng bag, or any oLher porLable conLalner ln a house,
garage, or back yard.
1he fundamenLal ob[ecLlon, Lhen, Lo Lhe llne of argumenL adopLed by M8. !uS1lCL
WPl1L ln hls dlssenL ln Lhls case and ln Chlmel v. Callfornla, supra, ls LhaL lL proves Loo
much. lf we were Lo agree wlLh M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L LhaL Lhe pollce may, whenever Lhey
have probable cause, make a warranLless enLry for Lhe purpose of maklng an arresL, and
LhaL selzures and searches of auLomoblles are llkewlse per se reasonable glven probable
cause, Lhen by Lhe same loglc any search or selzure could be carrled ouL wlLhouL a
warranL, and we would slmply have read Lhe lourLh AmendmenL ouL of Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon. lndeed, lf M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L ls correcL LhaL lL has generally been assumed
LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL ls noL vlolaLed by Lhe warranLless enLry of a man's house
for purposes of arresL, lL mlghL be wlse Lo re-examlne Lhe assumpLlon. Such a re-
examlnaLlon "would confronL us wlLh a grave consLlLuLlonal quesLlon, namely, wheLher
Lhe forceful nlghLLlme enLry lnLo a dwelllng Lo arresL a person reasonably belleved
wlLhln, upon probable cause LhaL he had commlLLed a felony, under clrcumsLances
where no reason appears why an arresL warranL could noL have been soughL, ls
conslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL." !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S., aL 499 -300.
none of Lhe cases clLed by M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L dlsposes of Lhls "grave consLlLuLlonal
quesLlon." 1he case of Warden v. Payden, supra, where Lhe CourL elaboraLed [403 u.S.
443, 481] a "hoL pursulL" [usLlflcaLlon for Lhe pollce enLry lnLo Lhe defendanL's house
wlLhouL a warranL for hls arresL, cerLalnly sLands by negaLlve lmpllcaLlon for Lhe
proposlLlon LhaL an arresL warranL ls requlred ln Lhe absence of exlgenL clrcumsLances.
See also uavls v. Mlsslsslppl, 394 u.S. 721, 728 , Wong Sun v. unlLed SLaLes, 371 u.S., aL
481 -482. 1he CourL of Appeals for Lhe ulsLrlcL of Columbla ClrculL, slLLlng en banc, has
unanlmously reached Lhe same concluslon. 36 8uL we flnd lL unnecessary Lo declde Lhe
quesLlon ln Lhls case. 1he rule LhaL "searches conducLed ouLslde Lhe [udlclal process,
wlLhouL prlor approval by [udge or maglsLraLe, are per se unreasonable under Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL - sub[ecL only Lo a few speclflcally esLabllshed and well-dellneaLed
excepLlons," 37 ls noL so frall LhaL lLs conLlnulng vlLallLy depends on Lhe faLe of a
supposed docLrlne of warranLless arresL. 1he warranL requlremenL has been a valued
parL of our consLlLuLlonal law for decades, and lL has deLermlned Lhe resulL ln scores and
scores of cases ln courLs all over Lhls counLry. lL ls noL an lnconvenlence Lo be somehow
"welghed" agalnsL Lhe clalms of pollce efflclency. lL ls, or should be, an lmporLanL
worklng parL of our machlnery of governmenL, operaLlng as a maLLer of course Lo check
Lhe "well-lnLenLloned buL mlsLakenly over-zealous execuLlve offlcers" 38 who are a parL
of any sysLem of law enforcemenL. lf lL ls Lo be a Lrue gulde Lo consLlLuLlonal pollce
acLlon, raLher Lhan [usL a plous phrase, Lhen "[L]he excepLlons cannoL be enLhroned lnLo
Lhe rule." unlLed SLaLes v. 8ablnowlLz, supra, aL 80 (lrankfurLer, !., dlssenLlng). 1he
conflnemenL of Lhe excepLlons Lo Lhelr approprlaLe scope was Lhe funcLlon of Chlmel v.
Callfornla, supra, where we dealL wlLh Lhe [403 u.S. 443, 482] assumpLlon LhaL a search
"lncldenL" Lo a lawful arresL may encompass all of Lhe premlses where Lhe arresL occurs,
however spaclous. 1he "plaln vlew" excepLlon ls lnLlmaLely llnked wlLh Lhe search-
lncldenL excepLlon, as Lhe cases dlscussed ln ÞarL C above have repeaLedly shown. 1o
permlL warranLless plaln-vlew selzures wlLhouL llmlL would be Lo undo much of whaL
was declded ln Chlmel, as Lhe slmllar argumenLs puL forward ln dlssenL ln Lhe Lwo cases
lndlcaLe clearly enough.
llnally, a word abouL 1ruplano v. unlLed SLaLes, supra. Cur dlscusslon of "plaln vlew" ln
ÞarL C above corresponds wlLh LhaL glven ln 1ruplano. Pere, as ln 1ruplano, Lhe
deLermlnlng facLors are advance pollce knowledge of Lhe exlsLence and locaLlon of Lhe
evldence, pollce lnLenLlon Lo selze lL, and Lhe ample opporLunlLy for obLalnlng a warranL.
See 334 u.S., aL 707 -708 and n. 27, supra. Powever, we do noL "relnsLaLe" 1ruplano,
slnce we cannoL adopL all lLs lmpllcaLlons. 1o begln wlLh, ln Chlmel v. Callfornla, supra,
we held LhaL a search of Lhe person of an arresLee and of Lhe area under hls lmmedlaLe
conLrol could be carrled ouL wlLhouL a warranL. We dld noL lndlcaLe Lhere, and do noL
suggesL here, LhaL Lhe pollce musL obLaln a warranL lf Lhey anLlclpaLe LhaL Lhey wlll flnd
speclflc evldence durlng Lhe course of such a search. See n. 24, supra. And as Lo Lhe
auLomoblle excepLlon, we do noL quesLlon Lhe declslons of Lhe CourL ln Cooper v.
Callfornla, 386 u.S. 38 , and Chambers v. Maroney, supra, alLhough boLh are arguably
lnconslsLenL wlLh 1ruplano.
M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L'S dlssenL characLerlzes Lhe coexlsLence of Chlmel, Cooper,
Chambers, and Lhls case as "punlLlve," "exLravaganL," "lnconslsLenL," "wlLhouL apparenL
reason," "unexplalned," and "lnexpllcable." ÞosL, aL 317, 319, 321. lL ls urged upon us
LhaL we have here a "ready opporLunlLy, one way or anoLher, [403 u.S. 443, 483] Lo
brlng clarlLy and cerLalnLy Lo a body of law LhaL lower courLs and law enforcemenL
offlclals ofLen flnd confuslng." ÞosL, aL 321. Þresumably one of Lhe ways ln whlch M8.
!uS1lCL WPl1L belleves we mlghL achleve clarlLy and cerLalnLy would be Lhe adopLlon of
hls proposal LhaL we LreaL enLry for purposes of arresL and selzure of an auLomoblle
allke as per se reasonable on probable cause. Such an approach mlghL dlspose of Lhls
case clearly and cerLalnly enough, buL, as we have Lrled Lo show above, lL would casL
lnLo llmbo Lhe whole noLlon of a lourLh AmendmenL warranL requlremenL. And lL ls
dlfflculL Lo Lake serlously M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L'S alLernaLlve suggesLlon LhaL clarlLy and
cerLalnLy, as well as coherence and credlblllLy, mlghL also be achleved by modlfylng
Chlmel and overrullng Chambers and Cooper. Surely, qulLe aparL from hls sLrong
dlsagreemenL on Lhe merlLs, he would Lake vehemenL excepLlon Lo any such cavaller
LreaLmenL of Lhls CourL's declslons.
Cf course, lL would be nonsense Lo preLend LhaL our declslon Loday reduces lourLh
AmendmenL law Lo compleLe order and harmony. 1he declslons of Lhe CourL over Lhe
years polnL ln dlfferlng dlrecLlons and dlffer ln emphasls. no Lrlck of loglc wlll make Lhem
all perfecLly conslsLenL. 8uL lL ls no less nonsense Lo suggesL, as does M8. !uS1lCL
WPl1L, posL, aL 321, 320, LhaL we cease Loday "Lo sLrlve for clarlLy and conslsLency of
analysls," or LhaL we have "abandoned any aLLempL" Lo flnd reasoned dlsLlncLlons ln Lhls
area. 1he Llme ls long pasL when men belleved LhaL developmenL of Lhe law musL always
proceed by Lhe smooLh lncorporaLlon of new slLuaLlons lnLo a slngle coherenL analyLlcal
framework. We need accepL nelLher Lhe "clarlLy and cerLalnLy" of a lourLh AmendmenL
wlLhouL a warranL requlremenL nor Lhe faclle conslsLency obLalned by wholesale
overrullng of recenLly declded cases. A remark by [403 u.S. 443, 484] M8. !uS1lCL
PA8LAn concernlng Lhe llfLh AmendmenL ls appllcable as well Lo Lhe lourLh:
"1here are Lhose, l suppose, who would puL Lhe `llberal consLrucLlon' approach of cases
llke Mlranda [v. Arlzona, 384 u.S. 436 ,] and 8oyd v. unlLed SLaLes, 116 u.S. 616 (1886),
slde-by-slde wlLh Lhe balanclng approach of Schmerber [v. Callfornla, 384 u.S. 737 ,] and
percelve noLhlng more subLle Lhan a seL of consLrucLlonal anLlnomles Lo be uLlllzed as
convenlenL booLsLraps Lo one resulL or anoLher. 8uL l percelve ln Lhese cases Lhe
essenLlal Lenslon LhaL sprlngs from Lhe uncerLaln mandaLe whlch Lhls provlslon of Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon glves Lo Lhls CourL." Callfornla v. 8yers, 402 u.S. 424, 449 -430 (concurrlng
ln [udgmenL).
We are convlnced LhaL Lhe resulL reached ln Lhls case ls correcL, and LhaL Lhe prlnclple lL
reflecLs - LhaL Lhe pollce musL obLaln a warranL when Lhey lnLend Lo selze an ob[ecL
ouLslde Lhe scope of a valld search lncldenL Lo arresL - can be easlly undersLood and
applled by courLs and law enforcemenL offlcers allke. lL ls a prlnclple LhaL should work Lo
proLecL Lhe clLlzen wlLhouL overburdenlng Lhe pollce, and a prlnclple LhaL preserves and
proLecLs Lhe guaranLees of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL.
8ecause of Lhe prospecL of a new Lrlal, Lhe efflclenL admlnlsLraLlon of [usLlce counsels
conslderaLlon of Lhe second subsLanLlal quesLlon under Lhe lourLh and lourLeenLh
AmendmenLs presenLed by Lhls case. 1he peLlLloner conLends LhaL when Lhe pollce
obLalned a rlfle and arLlcles of hls cloLhlng from hls home on Lhe nlghL of Sunday,
lebruary 2, 1964, whlle he was belng lnLerrogaLed aL Lhe pollce sLaLlon, Lhey engaged ln
a search and selzure vlolaLlve of Lhe ConsLlLuLlon. ln order Lo [403 u.S. 443,
483] undersLand Lhls conLenLlon, lL ls necessary Lo revlew ln some deLall Lhe
clrcumsLances of Lhe lebruary 2 eplsode.
1he lle-deLecLor LesL admlnlsLered Lo Coolldge ln Concord on Lhe afLernoon of Lhe 2d
was lnconcluslve as Lo hls acLlvlLles on Lhe nlghL of Þamela Mason's dlsappearance, buL
durlng Lhe course of Lhe LesL Coolldge confessed Lo sLeallng $373 from hls employer.
AfLer Lhe group reLurned from Concord Lo ManchesLer, Lhe lnLerrogaLlon abouL
Coolldge's movemenLs on Lhe nlghL of Lhe dlsappearance conLlnued, and Coolldge
apparenLly made a number of sLaLemenLs whlch Lhe pollce lmmedlaLely checked ouL as
besL Lhey could. 1he declslon Lo send Lwo offlcers Lo Lhe Coolldge house Lo speak wlLh
Mrs. Coolldge was apparenLly moLlvaLed ln parL by a deslre Lo check hls sLory agalnsL
whaLever she mlghL say, and ln parL by Lhe need for some corroboraLlon of hls
admlsslon Lo Lhe LhefL from hls employer. 1he Lrlal [udge found as a facL, and Lhe record
supporLs hlm, LhaL aL Lhe Llme of Lhe vlslL Lhe pollce knew very llLLle abouL Lhe weapon
LhaL had kllled Þamela Mason. 1he bulleL LhaL had been reLrleved was of small callber,
buL Lhe pollce were unsure wheLher Lhe weapon was a rlfle or a plsLol. uurlng Lhe
exLenslve lnvesLlgaLlon followlng Lhe dlscovery of Lhe body, Lhe pollce had made lL a
pracLlce Lo ask all Lhose quesLloned wheLher Lhey owned any guns, and Lo ask Lhe
owners for permlsslon Lo run LesLs on Lhose LhaL meL Lhe very general descrlpLlon of Lhe
murder weapon. 1he Lrlal [udge found as a facL LhaL when Lhe pollce vlslLed Mrs.
Coolldge on Lhe nlghL of Lhe 2d, Lhey were unaware of Lhe prevlous vlslL durlng whlch
Coolldge had shown oLher offlcers Lhree guns, and LhaL Lhey were noL moLlvaLed by a
deslre Lo flnd Lhe murder weapon. [403 u.S. 443, 486]
1he Lwo plalncloLhesmen asked Mrs. Coolldge wheLher her husband had been aL home
on Lhe nlghL of Lhe murder vlcLlm's dlsappearance, and she replled LhaL he had noL.
1hey Lhen asked her lf her husband owned any guns. Accordlng Lo her LesLlmony aL Lhe
preLrlal suppresslon hearlng, she replled, "?es, l wlll geL Lhem ln Lhe bedroom." Cne of
Lhe offlcers replled, "We wlll come wlLh you." 1he Lhree wenL lnLo Lhe bedroom where
Mrs. Coolldge Look all four guns ouL of Lhe closeL. Per accounL conLlnued:
"A. l belleve l asked lf Lhey wanLed Lhe guns. Cne genLleman sald, `no', Lhen Lhe oLher
genLleman Lurned around and sald, `We mlghL as well Lake Lhem.' l sald, `lf you would
llke Lhem, you may Lake Lhem.'
"C. uld you go furLher and say, `We have noLhlng Lo hlde.'?
"A. l can'L recall lf l sald LhaL Lhen or before. l don'L recall.
"C. 8uL aL some Llme you lndlcaLed Lo Lhem LhaL as far as you were concerned you had
noLhlng Lo hlde, and Lhey mlghL Lake whaL Lhey wanLed?
"A. 1haL was lL.
. . . . .
"C. uld you feel aL LhaL Llme LhaL you had someLhlng Lo hlde?
"A. no."
1he Lwo pollcemen also asked Mrs. Coolldge whaL her husband had been wearlng on
Lhe nlghL of Lhe dlsappearance. She Lhen produced four palrs of Lrousers and lndlcaLed
LhaL her husband had probably worn elLher of Lwo of Lhem on LhaL evenlng. She also
broughL ouL a hunLlng [ackeL. 1he pollce gave her a recelpL for Lhe guns and Lhe cloLhlng,
and, afLer a search of Lhe Coolldge cars noL here ln lssue, Look Lhe varlous arLlcles Lo Lhe
pollce sLaLlon. [403 u.S. 443, 487]
1he flrsL branch of Lhe peLlLloner's argumenL ls LhaL when Mrs. Coolldge broughL ouL Lhe
guns and cloLhlng, and Lhen handed Lhem over Lo Lhe pollce, she was acLlng as an
"lnsLrumenL" of Lhe offlclals, complylng wlLh a "demand" made by Lhem. ConsequenLly,
lL ls argued, Coolldge was Lhe vlcLlm of a search and selzure wlLhln Lhe consLlLuLlonal
meanlng of Lhose Lerms. Slnce we cannoL accepL Lhls lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe facLs, we
need noL conslder Lhe peLlLloner's furLher argumenL LhaL Mrs. Coolldge could noL or dld
noL "walve" her husband's consLlLuLlonal proLecLlon agalnsL unreasonable searches and
Pad Mrs. Coolldge, wholly on her own lnlLlaLlve, soughL ouL her husband's guns and
cloLhlng and Lhen Laken Lhem Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon Lo be used as evldence agalnsL hlm,
Lhere can be no doubL under exlsLlng law LhaL Lhe arLlcles would laLer have been
admlsslble ln evldence. Cf. 8urdeau v. Mcuowell, 236 u.S. 463 . 1he quesLlon presenLed
here ls wheLher Lhe conducL of Lhe pollce offlcers aL Lhe Coolldge house was such as Lo
make her acLlons Lhelr acLlons for purposes of Lhe lourLh and lourLeenLh AmendmenLs
and Lhelr aLLendanL excluslonary rules. 1he LesL, as Lhe peLlLloner's argumenL suggesLs,
ls wheLher Mrs. Coolldge, ln llghL of all Lhe clrcumsLances of Lhe case, musL be regarded
as havlng acLed as an "lnsLrumenL" or agenL of Lhe sLaLe when she produced her
husband's belonglngs. Cf. unlLed SLaLes v. Coldberg, 330 l.2d 30 (CA3), cerL. denled, 377
u.S. 933 (1964), Þeople v. 1aranLlno, 43 Cal. 2d 390, 290 Þ.2d 303 (1933), see 8yars v.
unlLed SLaLes, 273 u.S. 28 , Camblno v. unlLed SLaLes, 273 u.S. 310 .
ln a slLuaLlon llke Lhe one before us Lhere no doubL always exlsL forces pushlng Lhe
spouse Lo cooperaLe wlLh[403 u.S. 443, 488] Lhe pollce. Among Lhese are Lhe slmple
buL ofLen powerful convenLlon of openness and honesLy, Lhe fear LhaL secreLlve
behavlor wlll lnLenslfy susplclon, and uncerLalnLy as Lo whaL course ls mosL llkely Lo be
helpful Lo Lhe absenL spouse. 8uL Lhere ls noLhlng consLlLuLlonally suspecL ln Lhe
exlsLence, wlLhouL more, of Lhese lncenLlves Lo full dlsclosure or acLlve cooperaLlon wlLh
Lhe pollce. 1he excluslonary rules were fashloned "Lo prevenL, noL Lo repalr," and Lhelr
LargeL ls offlclal mlsconducL. 1hey are "Lo compel respecL for Lhe consLlLuLlonal guaranLy
ln Lhe only effecLlvely avallable way - by removlng Lhe lncenLlve Lo dlsregard lL." Llklns v.
unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 206, 217 . 8uL lL ls no parL of Lhe pollcy underlylng Lhe lourLh
and lourLeenLh AmendmenLs Lo dlscourage clLlzens from aldlng Lo Lhe uLmosL of Lhelr
ablllLy ln Lhe apprehenslon of crlmlnals. lf, Lhen, Lhe excluslonary rule ls properly
appllcable Lo Lhe evldence Laken from Lhe Coolldge house on Lhe nlghL of lebruary 2, lL
musL be upon Lhe basls LhaL some Lype of unconsLlLuLlonal pollce conducL occurred.
?eL lL cannoL be sald LhaL Lhe pollce should have obLalned a warranL for Lhe guns and
cloLhlng before Lhey seL ouL Lo vlslL Mrs. Coolldge, slnce Lhey had no lnLenLlon of
rummaglng around among Coolldge's effecLs or of dlspossesslng hlm of any of hls
properLy. nor can lL be sald LhaL Lhey should have obLalned Coolldge's permlsslon for a
selzure Lhey dld noL lnLend Lo make. 1here was noLhlng Lo compel Lhem Lo announce Lo
Lhe suspecL LhaL Lhey lnLended Lo quesLlon hls wlfe abouL hls movemenLs on Lhe nlghL of
Lhe dlsappearance or abouL Lhe LhefL from hls employer. Cnce Mrs. Coolldge had
admlLLed Lhem, Lhe pollcemen were surely acLlng normally and properly when Lhey
asked her, as Lhey had asked Lhose quesLloned earller ln Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon, lncludlng
Coolldge hlmself, abouL any guns Lhere mlghL be ln Lhe house. 1he quesLlon [403 u.S.
443, 489] concernlng Lhe cloLhes Coolldge had been wearlng on Lhe nlghL of Lhe
dlsappearance was loglcal and ln no way coerclve. lndeed, one mlghL doubL Lhe
compeLence of Lhe offlcers lnvolved had Lhey noL asked exacLly Lhe quesLlons Lhey dld
ask. And surely when Mrs. Coolldge of her own accord produced Lhe guns and cloLhes
for lnspecLlon, raLher Lhan slmply descrlblng Lhem, lL was noL lncumbenL on Lhe pollce
Lo sLop her or averL Lhelr eyes.
1he crux of Lhe peLlLloner's argumenL musL be LhaL when Mrs. Coolldge asked Lhe
pollcemen wheLher Lhey wanLed Lhe guns, Lhey should have replled LhaL Lhey could noL
Lake Lhem, or have flrsL Lelephoned Coolldge aL Lhe pollce sLaLlon and asked hls
permlsslon Lo Lake Lhem, or have asked her wheLher she had been auLhorlzed by her
husband Lo release Lhem. lnsLead, afLer one pollceman had decllned Lhe offer, Lhe oLher
Lurned and sald, "We mlghL as well Lake Lhem," Lo whlch Mrs. Coolldge replled, "lf you
would llke Lhem, you may Lake Lhem."
ln assesslng Lhe clalm LhaL Lhls course of conducL amounLed Lo a search and selzure, lL ls
well Lo keep ln mlnd LhaL Mrs. Coolldge descrlbed her own moLlve as LhaL of clearlng her
husband, and LhaL she belleved LhaL she had noLhlng Lo hlde. She had seen her husband
hlmself produce hls guns for Lwo oLher pollcemen earller ln Lhe week, and Lhere ls
noLhlng Lo lndlcaLe LhaL she reallzed LhaL he had offered only Lhree of Lhem for
lnspecLlon on LhaL occaslon. 1he Lwo offlcers who quesLloned her behaved, as her own
LesLlmony shows, wlLh perfecL courLesy. 1here ls noL Lhe sllghLesL lmpllcaLlon of an
aLLempL on Lhelr parL Lo coerce or domlnaLe her, or, for LhaL maLLer, Lo dlrecL her
acLlons by Lhe more subLle Lechnlques of suggesLlon LhaL are avallable Lo offlclals ln
clrcumsLances llke Lhese. 1o hold LhaL Lhe conducL of Lhe pollce here was a search and
selzure would be Lo hold, ln effecL, LhaL a crlmlnal suspecL has consLlLuLlonal proLecLlon
agalnsL [403 u.S. 443, 490] Lhe adverse consequences of a sponLaneous, good-falLh
efforL by hls wlfe Lo clear hlm of susplclon. 39

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