Byars v. United States, No. 72

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
Citation273 U.S. 28,47 S.Ct. 248,71 L.Ed. 520
PartiesBYARS v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date03 January 1927
Docket NumberNo. 72

273 U.S. 28
47 S.Ct. 248
71 L.Ed. 520
BYARS

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 72.
Argued and Submitted Nov. 29, 1926.
Decided Jan. 3, 1927.

Mr. Claude R. Porter, of Des Moines, Iowa, for petitioner.

Mr. Gardner P. Lloyd, of New York City, for the United States.

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner was convicted in the federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa upon two counts for unlaw-

Page 29

fully having in his possession with fraudulent intent certain counterfeit strip stamps of the kind used upon whisky bottled in bond. The stamps were admitted in evidence over the objection of petitioner that they had been obtained by an unlawful search and seizure. A timely motion previously made by the petitioner to return or impound the stamps was overruled. The judgment of conviction was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 4 F.(2d) 507.

The stamps were found in executing a search warrant issued by the judge of a state municipal court and addressed to 'any peace officer of Des Moines, Polk county, Iowa,' directing search for intoxicating liquors and instruments and materials used in the manufacture of such liquors. The information upon which the search warrant was issued states only that affiant 'has good reason to believe and does believe the defendant has in his possession' such intoxicating liquors, instruments and materials. The warrant clearly is bad if tested by the Fourth Amendment and the laws of the United States. Chapter 30, tit. 11, §§ 3-6, 40 Stat. 217, 228, 229 (Comp. St. §§ 10496 1/4 c-10496 1/4 f); chapter 85, tit. 2, § 2, 41 Stat. 305, 308 (Comp. St. § 10138 1/2 a). See Ripper v. United States (C. C. A.) 178 F. 24, 26; United States v. Borkowski (D. C.) 268 F. 408, 410, 411; United States v. Kelly (D. C.) 277 F. 485, 486-489. Whether it is good under the state law it is not necessary to inquire, since in no event could it constitute the basis for a federal search and seizure, as, under the facts hereinafter stated, it is insisted this was.

Nor is it material that the search was successful in revealing evidence of a violation of a federal statute. A search prosecuted in violation of the Constitution is not made lawful by what it brings to light; and the doctrine has never been recognized by this court, nor can it be tolerated under our constitutional system, that evidences of crime discovered by a federal officer in making a search without lawful warrant may be used against the victim of

Page 30

the unlawful search where a timely challenge has been interposed. Weeks v. United States. 232 U. S. 383, 393, 34 S. Ct. 341, 58 L. Ed. 652, L. R. A. 1915B, 834, Ann. Cas. 1915C, 1177; Gouled v. United States, 255 U. S. 298, 306, 41 S. Ct. 261, 65 L. Ed. 647; Amos v. United States, 255 U. S. 313, 41 S. Ct. 266, 65 L. Ed. 654; Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U. S. 385, 391, 40 S. Ct. 182, 64 L. Ed. 319; Agnello v. United States, 269 U. S. 20, 33, 46 S. Ct. 4, 70 L. Ed. 145.

The warrant directs the officer to search certain described premises and, if any of the liquors, instruments or materials set forth in the information are found, to seize the same and keep them until final action be had thereon. It was put into the hands of Mr. Densmore, a local officer in charge of the night liquor bureau of the police station in Des Moines, Iowa, and he, together with three others, proceeded to make the search in circumstances which can best be shown by quoting from the testimony given upon the hearing of the motion to impound or return the property seized. Mr. Densmore testified as follows:

'As I came down stairs, I asked the captain about Mr. Adams, who was there, and I asked him to go with me. Mr. Adams is the federal prohibition agent, stationed here in Des Moines, Iowa, an officer of the government, operating under the Treasury Department. I met him after the warrant has been sued out, and asked him to go with me. I had the warrant at that time. It was in the police station of the city that I met Mr. Adams and requested him to come along. I had not discussed this case with Mr. Adams before that. He went with me from the city building on the search. As far as I know, he did not have any warrant or any...

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541 practice notes
  • United States v. Miller, No. 18-5578
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 3, 2020
    ...did not even apply to state officers (like Detective Schihl) who acted independently of federal officers. See Byars v. United States , 273 U.S. 28, 33–34, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 (1927) ; cf. Elkins v. United States , 364 U.S. 206, 215, 80 S.Ct. 1437, 4 L.Ed.2d 1669 (1960). And although ......
  • U.S. v. Chapman, Nos. 89-2483
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 12, 1991
    ...Brown, 784 F.2d at 1037. 28 See, e.g., Lustig v. United States, 338 U.S. 74, 69 S.Ct. 1372, 93 L.Ed. 1819 (1949); Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 29 See, e.g., United States v. Marzano, 537 F.2d 257 (7th Cir.1976) (Canada), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 97 S.C......
  • Kroska v. United States, No. 9002.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 25, 1931
    ...L. Ed. 543, 39 A. L. R. 790; Agnello v. United States, 269 U. S. 20, 46 S. Ct. 4, 70 L. Ed. 145, 51 A. L. R. 409; Byars v. United States, 273 U. S. 28, 47 S. Ct. 248, 71 L. Ed. 520; Gambino v. United States, 275 U. S. 310, 48 S. Ct. 137, 72 L. Ed. 293, 52 A. L. R. 1381; Boyd v. United State......
  • United States v. Harvey, Criminal Action No. 1:12CR29.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • October 25, 2012
    ...his residence. A search prosecuted in violation of the Constitution is not made lawful by what it brings to light. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 (1927). Therefore, the fact that Officer Ammons smelled the odor of green marijuana and saw what appeared to be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
539 cases
  • United States v. Miller, No. 18-5578
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 3, 2020
    ...did not even apply to state officers (like Detective Schihl) who acted independently of federal officers. See Byars v. United States , 273 U.S. 28, 33–34, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 (1927) ; cf. Elkins v. United States , 364 U.S. 206, 215, 80 S.Ct. 1437, 4 L.Ed.2d 1669 (1960). And although ......
  • U.S. v. Chapman, Nos. 89-2483
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 12, 1991
    ...Brown, 784 F.2d at 1037. 28 See, e.g., Lustig v. United States, 338 U.S. 74, 69 S.Ct. 1372, 93 L.Ed. 1819 (1949); Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 29 See, e.g., United States v. Marzano, 537 F.2d 257 (7th Cir.1976) (Canada), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 97 S.C......
  • Kroska v. United States, No. 9002.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 25, 1931
    ...L. Ed. 543, 39 A. L. R. 790; Agnello v. United States, 269 U. S. 20, 46 S. Ct. 4, 70 L. Ed. 145, 51 A. L. R. 409; Byars v. United States, 273 U. S. 28, 47 S. Ct. 248, 71 L. Ed. 520; Gambino v. United States, 275 U. S. 310, 48 S. Ct. 137, 72 L. Ed. 293, 52 A. L. R. 1381; Boyd v. United State......
  • United States v. Harvey, Criminal Action No. 1:12CR29.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • October 25, 2012
    ...his residence. A search prosecuted in violation of the Constitution is not made lawful by what it brings to light. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S.Ct. 248, 71 L.Ed. 520 (1927). Therefore, the fact that Officer Ammons smelled the odor of green marijuana and saw what appeared to be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court as Protector of Civil Rights: Criminal Justice
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 275-1, May 1951
    • May 1, 1951
    ...v. United States, 232 U. S. 383 U. S. 46, 68-125 (1947). (1914). 31 Justices Black and Douglas rejected alto- 39 Byars v. United States, 273 U. S. 28 gether the "natural law" standards of the (1931) ; Gambino v. United States, 275 U. S. jority, and stood solely on the specific provi- 310 (1......

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