Florida v. Jimeno, No. 90-622

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREHNQUIST
Citation114 L.Ed.2d 297,500 U.S. 248,111 S.Ct. 1801
PartiesFLORIDA, Petitioner v. Enio JIMENO et al
Decision Date23 May 1991
Docket NumberNo. 90-622

500 U.S. 248
111 S.Ct. 1801
114 L.Ed.2d 297
FLORIDA, Petitioner

v.

Enio JIMENO et al.

No. 90-622.
Argued March 25, 1991.
Decided May 23, 1991.
Syllabus

Having stopped respondent Jimeno's car for a traffic infraction, police officer Trujillo, who had been following the car after overhearing Jimeno arranging what appeared to be a drug transaction, declared that he had reason to believe that Jimeno was carrying narcotics in the car, and asked permission to search it. Jimeno consented, and Trujillo found cocaine inside a folded paper bag on the car's floorboard. Jimeno was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of Florida law, but the state trial court granted his motion to suppress the cocaine on the ground that his consent to search the car did not carry with it specific consent to open the bag and examine its contents. The Florida District Court of Appeal and Supreme Court affirmed.

Held: A criminal suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches is not violated when, after he gives police permission to search his car, they open a closed container found within the car that might reasonably hold the object of the search. The Amendment is satisfied when, under the circumstances, it is objectively reasonable for the police to believe that the scope of the suspect's consent permitted them to open the particular container. Here, the authorization to search extended beyond the car's interior surfaces to the bag, since Jimeno did not place any explicit limitation on the scope of the search and was aware that Trujillo would be looking for narcotics in the car, and since a reasonable person may be expected to know that narcotics are generally carried in some form of container. There is no basis for adding to the Fourth Amendment's basic test of objective reasonableness a requirement that, if police wish to search closed containers within a car, they must separately request permission to search each container. Pp. 250-252.

564 So.2d 1083 (Fla.1990), reversed and remanded.

REHNQUIST, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, BLACKMUN, O'CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined.

MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS, J., joined.

Page 249

Michael J. Neimand, Miami, Fla., for petitioner.

John G. Roberts, Jr., Washington, D.C., for the U.S., as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioner, by special leave of Court.

Jeffrey S. Weiner, Miami, Fla., for respondent.

Chief Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case we decide whether a criminal suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches is violated when, after he gives a police officer permission to search his automobile, the officer opens a closed container found within the car that might reasonably hold the object of the search. We find that it is not. The Fourth Amendment is satisfied when, under the circumstances, it is objectively reasonable for the officer to believe that the scope of the suspect's consent permitted him to open a particular container within the automobile.

This case began when a Dade County police officer, Frank Trujillo, overheard respondent, Enio Jimeno, arranging what appeared to be a drug transaction over a public telephone. Believing that respondent might be involved in illegal drug trafficking, Officer Trujillo followed his car. The officer observed respondent make a right turn at a red light without stopping. He then pulled respondent over to the side of the road in order to issue him a traffic citation. Officer Trujillo told respondent that he had been stopped for committing a traffic infraction. The officer went on to say that he had reason to believe that respondent was carrying narcotics in his car, and asked permission to search the car. He explained that respondent did not have to consent to a search of the car. Respondent stated that he had nothing to hide, and gave Trujillo

Page 250

permission to search the automobile. After two passengers stepped out of respondent's car, Officer Trujillo went to the passenger side, opened the door, and saw a folded, brown paper bag on the floorboard. The officer picked up the bag, opened it, and found a kilogram of cocaine inside.

Respondent was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of Florida law. Before trial, he moved to suppress the cocaine found in the bag on the ground that his consent to search the car did not extend to the closed paper bag inside of the car. The trial court granted the motion. It found that although respondent "could have assumed that the officer would have searched the bag" at the time he gave his consent, his mere consent to search the car did not carry with it specific consent to open the bag and examine its contents. No. 88-23967 (Cir.Ct. Dade Cty., Fla., Mar. 21, 1989); App. to Pet. for Cert. A-6.

The Florida District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's decision to suppress the evidence of the cocaine. 550 So.2d 1176 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989). In doing so, the court established a per se rule that "consent to a general search for narcotics does not extend to 'sealed containers within the general area agreed to by the defendant.' " Ibid. (citation omitted). The Florida Supreme Court affirmed, relying upon its decision in State v. Wells, 539 So.2d 464 (1989) aff'd on other grounds, 495 U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 1632, 109 L.Ed.2d 1 (1990). 564 So.2d 1083 (1990). We granted certiorari to determine whether consent to search a vehicle may extend to closed containers found inside the vehicle. 498 U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 554, 112 L.Ed.2d 561 (1990), and we now reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida.

The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360, 88 S.Ct. 507, 516, 19 L.Ed.2d 576 (1967). The Fourth Amendment does not proscribe all state-initiated searches and seizures; it merely proscribes those which are unreasonable. Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 (1990). Thus, we have long approved consensual searches because it

Page 251

is no doubt reasonable for the police to conduct a search once they have been permitted to do so. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 2043, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973). The standard for measuring the scope of a suspect's consent under the Fourth Amendment is that of "objective" reasonableness—what would the typical reasonable person have understood by the exchange between the officer and the suspect? Illinois v. Rodriguez, supra, at ---- - ----, 110 S.Ct., at 2798-2802; Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501-502, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 1326-1327, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) (opinion of WHITE, J.); id., at 514, 103 S.Ct., at 1332 (BLACKMUN, J., dissenting). The question before us, then, is whether it is reasonable for an officer to consider a suspect's general consent to a search of his car to include consent to examine a paper bag lying on the floor of the car. We think that it is.

The scope of a search is generally defined by its expressed object. United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 102 S.Ct. 2157, 72 L.Ed.2d 572 (1982). In this case, the terms of the search's authorization were simple. Respondent granted Officer Trujillo permission to search his car, and did not place any explicit...

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2265 practice notes
  • Mandola v. Cnty. of Nassau, 13–cv–3064 (DLI)(ST)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 30, 2016
    ...Defendants' entry of Plaintiffs' home pursuant to an arrest warrant is deemed constitutionally permissible conduct. Florida v. Jimeno , 500 U.S. 248, 250, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991). Therefore, the instant matter is distinguishable from the Supreme Court's holding in Steagald .B......
  • State v. Gomez, No. CT2018-0025
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • February 11, 2019
    ...would the typical reasonable person have understood by the exchange between the officer and the suspect? Florida v. Jimeno , 500 U.S. 248, 251, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 1803–04, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991), citing Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 183-189, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 (1990) ; Flor......
  • Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., No. 01-5098.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • July 21, 2003
    ...reasonable for the official to believe that the scope of a person's consent permitted him to conduct the search. Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 251, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991); Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 186, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 Page 1208 (1990); United S......
  • U.S. v. Bute, Nos. 93-4193
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1994
    ...as the text of the Fourth Amendment indicates, is the touchstone for determining the constitutionality of a search, see Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 250, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 1803, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433, 439, 93 S.Ct. 2523, 2527, 37 L.Ed.2d 706 (1973), the ......
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2276 cases
  • Mandola v. Cnty. of Nassau, 13–cv–3064 (DLI)(ST)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 30, 2016
    ...Defendants' entry of Plaintiffs' home pursuant to an arrest warrant is deemed constitutionally permissible conduct. Florida v. Jimeno , 500 U.S. 248, 250, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991). Therefore, the instant matter is distinguishable from the Supreme Court's holding in Steagald .B......
  • State v. Gomez, No. CT2018-0025
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • February 11, 2019
    ...would the typical reasonable person have understood by the exchange between the officer and the suspect? Florida v. Jimeno , 500 U.S. 248, 251, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 1803–04, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991), citing Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 183-189, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 (1990) ; Flor......
  • Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., No. 01-5098.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • July 21, 2003
    ...reasonable for the official to believe that the scope of a person's consent permitted him to conduct the search. Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 251, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991); Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 186, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 Page 1208 (1990); United S......
  • U.S. v. Bute, Nos. 93-4193
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1994
    ...as the text of the Fourth Amendment indicates, is the touchstone for determining the constitutionality of a search, see Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 250, 111 S.Ct. 1801, 1803, 114 L.Ed.2d 297 (1991); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433, 439, 93 S.Ct. 2523, 2527, 37 L.Ed.2d 706 (1973), the ......
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2 books & journal articles
  • THE ORIGINS AND LEGACY OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT REASONABLENESS-BALANCING MODEL.
    • United States
    • Case Western Reserve Law Review Vol. 71 Nbr. 1, September 2020
    • September 22, 2020
    ...States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975)). For a similar opinion, see Wilson, 519 U.S. at 411-12. (193.) Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 250 (194.) Id. (195.) Id. For similar language, see Vemonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, 652 (1995), discussed supra notes 149-155 an......
  • Law Enforcement Case Law
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 30-2, September 2005
    • September 1, 2005
    ...1047 (8th Cir. 04-06-04).Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981).Ferguson v. City of Charleston, 532 U.S. 67 (2001).Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248 (1991).Florida v. Wells, 495 U.S. 1 (1990).282 Criminal Justice Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 155 (1978).Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128 (199......

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