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Smith V. State Supreme Court Ruling

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Smith v. State Supreme Court Ruling

Barbara Sigler

American Intercontinental University


In Smith v. State, the defendant appealed his conviction of burglary on the premise of the State of California violated his Fourth Amendment Rights by illegally arresting and searching his home. The Supreme Court has overruled the conviction on this case because there is evidence that in fact the State of California violated Mr. Smith's rights by illegally entering his home.

Smith v. State, 2014

Facts of the Case:

James Smith was arrested for burglarizing a neighbor's apartment. The neighbor, a friend of Mr. Smith forced his way into his friend's apartment and observed the stolen property. The neighbor notified the police, whereby the police officers entered Mr. Smith's apartment and arrested him based on the information given by the neighbors. The police officers decided to enter the premises prior to obtaining a search warrant because they felt they would lose the evidence in the home if they waited for a warrant.


Did the State of California violate Mr. James Smith's Fourth Amendment Rights?


No, the State of California did not violate the defendant's right by entering his home and arresting him for burglary.

Majority Reasoning:

The Fourth Amendment provides protection of personal privacy for all citizens. It also protects a citizen from unreasonable government intrusion into their homes or businesses.

The Fourth Amendment protects law enforcement officer's physical apprehension or seizure of a person. Police search of items or places when a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy such as his person, clothing, vehicle, home or apartment or place of business to name a few.

The Amendment provides protection to individuals during searches and prevents illegally seized items from being used as evidence in a criminal case. The Fourth Amendment provides protection under certain circumstances such as, a police officer enters a business, an individual is arrested, and a police officer confiscates an individual's vehicle or personal property for evidence in a crime. However, a police officer may not search or seize an individual's property unless these circumstances exist: a valid search warrant, a valid arrest warrant, or a belief that rises to probable cause that an individual has committed a crime ( "Search and Seizure" and the Fourth Amendment, n.d.).

In this particular case, the officers were notified of the possibility of stolen property at Mr. Smith's apartment. The officers acted on a tip from the owner of the stolen property. Once they arrived at Mr. Smith's apartment, they observed the property and proceeded to arrest Mr. Smith. The officers acted on the strong belief that Mr. Smith was in possession of stolen property.





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