Florida v. Royer, No. 80-2146

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation75 L.Ed.2d 229,103 S.Ct. 1319,460 U.S. 491
Decision Date23 March 1983
Docket NumberNo. 80-2146
PartiesFLORIDA, Petitioner, v. Mark ROYER

460 U.S. 491
103 S.Ct. 1319
75 L.Ed.2d 229
FLORIDA, Petitioner,

v.

Mark ROYER.

No. 80-2146.
Argued Oct. 12, 1982.
Decided March 23, 1983.
Syllabus

After purchasing a one-way airline ticket to New York City at Miami International Airport under an assumed name and checking his two suitcases bearing identification tags with the same assumed name, respondent went to the concourse leading to the airline boarding area, where he was approached by two detectives, who previously had observed him and believed that his characteristics fit the so-called "drug courier profile." Upon request, but without oral consent, respondent produced his airline ticket and driver's license, which carried his correct name. When the detectives asked about the discrepancy in names, respondent explained that a friend had made the ticket reservation in the assumed name. The detectives then informed respondent that they were narcotics investigators and that they had reason to suspect him of transporting narcotics, and, without returning his airline ticket or driver's license, asked him to accompany them to a small room adjacent to the concourse. Without respondent's consent, one of the detectives retrieved respondent's luggage from the airline and brought it to the room. While he did not respond to the detectives' request that he consent to a search of the luggage, respondent produced a key and unlocked one of the suitcases in which marihuana was found. When respondent said he did not know the combination to the lock on the second suitcase but did not object to its being opened, the officers pried it open and found more marihuana. Respondent was then told he was under arrest. Following the Florida trial court's denial of his pretrial motion to suppress the evidence obtained in the search of the suitcases, respondent was convicted of felony possession of marihuana. The Florida District Court of Appeal reversed, holding that respondent had been involuntarily confined within the small room without probable cause, that at the time his consent to search was obtained, the involuntary detention had exceeded the limited restraint permitted by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889, and that such consent was therefore invalid because tainted by the unlawful confinement.

Held: The judgment is affirmed.

389 So.2d 1007, affirmed.

Page 492

Calvin L. Fox, Tallahassee, Fla., for petitioner.

Andrew L. Frey, Washington, D.C., for the U.S. as amicus curiae.

Theodore Klein, Miami, Fla., for respondent.

[Amicus Curiae Information from pages 492-493 intentionally omitted]

Page 493

Justice WHITE announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion in which Justices MARSHALL, POWELL and STEVENS joined.

We are required in this case to determine whether the Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, properly applied the precepts of the Fourth Amendment in holding that respondent Royer was being illegally detained at the time of his purported consent to a search of his luggage.

I

On January 3, 1978, Royer was observed at Miami International Airport by two plain-clothes detectives of the Dade County, Florida, Public Safety Department assigned to the County's Organized Crime Bureau, Narcotics Investigation Section.1 Detectives Johnson and Magdalena believed that Royer's appearance, mannerisms, luggage, and actions fit the so-called "drug courier profile." 2 Royer, apparently unaware of the attention he had attracted, purchased a one-way ticket to New York City and checked his two suitcases, placing on each suitcase an identification tag bearing the name "Holt" and the destination, "LaGuardia". As Royer made

Page 494

his way to the concourse which led to the airline boarding area, the two detectives approached him, identified themselves as policemen working out of the sheriff's office, and asked if Royer had a "moment" to speak with them; Royer said "Yes."

Upon request, but without oral consent, Royer produced for the detectives his airline ticket and his driver's license. The airline ticket, like the baggage identification tags, bore the name "Holt," while the driver's license carried respondent's correct name, "Royer." When the detectives asked about the discrepancy, Royer explained that a friend had made the reservation in the name of "Holt." Royer became noticeably more nervous during this conversation, whereupon the detectives informed Royer that they were in fact narcotics investigators and that they had reason to suspect him of transporting narcotics.

The detectives did not return his airline ticket and identification but asked Royer to accompany them to a room, approximately forty feet away, adjacent to the concourse. Royer said nothing in response but went with the officers as he had been asked to do. The room was later described by Detective Johnson as a "large storage closet," located in the stewardesses' lounge and containing a small desk and two chairs. Without Royer's consent or agreement, Detective Johnson, using Royer's baggage check stubs, retrieved the "Holt" luggage from the airline and brought it to the room where respondent and Detective Magdalena were waiting. Royer was asked if he would consent to a search of the suitcases. Without orally responding to this request, Royer produced a key and unlocked one of the suitcases, which the detective then opened without seeking further assent from Royer. Drugs were found in that suitcase. According to Detective Johnson, Royer stated that he did not know the combination to the lock on the second suitcase. When asked if he objected to the detective opening the second suitcase, Royer said "no, go ahead," and did not object when the de-

Page 495

tective explained that the suitcase might have to be broken open. The suitcase was pried open by the officers and more marihuana was found. Royer was then told that he was under arrest. Approximately fifteen minutes had elapsed from the time the detectives initially approached respondent until his arrest upon the discovery of the contraband.

Prior to his trial for felony possession of marihuana,3 Royer made a motion to suppress the evidence obtained in the search of the suitcases. The trial court found that Royer's consent to the search was "freely and voluntarily given," and that, regardless of the consent, the warrantless search was reasonable because "the officer doesn't have the time to run out and get a search warrant because the plane is going to take off." 4 Following the denial of the motion to suppress, Royer changed his plea from "not guilty" to "nolo contendere," specifically reserving the right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress.5 Royer was convicted.

The District Court of Appeal, sitting en banc, reversed Royer's conviction.6 The court held that Royer had been involuntarily confined within the small room without probable cause; that the involuntary detention had exceeded the limited restraint permitted by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), at the time his consent to the search was obtained; and that the consent to search was therefore invalid because tainted by the unlawful confinement.7

Page 496

Several factors led the court to conclude that respondent's confinement was tantamount to arrest. Royer had "found himself in a small enclosed area being confronted by two police officers—a situation which presents an almost classic definition of imprisonment." 389 So.2d 1007, 1018 (Fla.App.1980). The detectives' statement to Royer that he was suspected of transporting narcotics also bolstered the finding that Royer was "in custody" at the time the consent to search was given. Ibid. In addition, the detectives' possession of Royer's airline ticket and their retrieval and possession of his luggage made it clear, in the District Court of Appeal's view, that Royer was not free to leave. Ibid.

At the suppression hearing Royer testified that he was under the impression that he was not free to leave the officers' presence. The Florida Court of Appeal found that this apprehension "was much more than a well-justified subjective belief," for the State had conceded at oral argument before that court that "the officers would not have permitted Royer to leave the room even if [Royer] had erroneously thought he could." Ibid. The nomenclature used to describe Royer's confinement, the court found, was unimportant because under Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200, 99 S.Ct. 2248, 60 L.Ed.2d 824 (1979), "[a] police confinement which . . . goes beyond the limited restraint of a Terry investigatory stop may be constitutionally justified only by probable cause." 389 So.2d, at 1019. Detective Johnson, who conducted the search, had specifically stated at the suppression hearing that he did not have probable cause to arrest Royer until the suitcases were opened and their contents revealed.

Page 497

Ibid. In the absence of probable cause, the court concluded, Royer's consent to search, given only after he had been unlawfully confined, was ineffective to justify the search. Ibid. Because there was no proof at all that a "break in the chain of illegality" had occurred, the court found that Royer's consent was invalid as a matter of law. Id., at 1020. We granted the State's petition for certiorari, 454 U.S. 1079, 102 S.Ct. 631, 70 L.Ed.2d 612 (1981), and now affirm.

II

Some preliminary observations are in order. First, it is unquestioned that without a warrant to search Royer's luggage and in the absence of probable cause and exigent circumstances, the validity of the search depended on Royer's purported consent. Neither is it disputed that where the validity of a search rests on consent, the State has the burden of proving that the necessary consent was obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given, a burden that is not satisfied by showing a mere submission to a claim of lawful authority. Lo-Ji Sales, Inc. v. New York, 442 U.S. 319, 329, 99 S.Ct. 2319,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6487 practice notes
  • People v. Smith, No. 2-02-0882.
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • January 30, 2004
    ...fruit of an illegal detention. People v. Brownlee, 186 Ill.2d 501, 519, 239 Ill.Dec. 25, 713 N.E.2d 556 (1999), citing Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 1326, 75 L.Ed.2d 229, 238-39 (1983). Therefore, in analyzing this case it is crucial to identify the type of police-cit......
  • U.S. v. Ruiz, No. 96-CR-227 S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • April 3, 1997
    ...the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Not every contact between a citizen and an officer involves the Fourth Amendment. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983); Florida v. Rodriguez, 469 U.S. 1, 105 S.Ct. 308, 83 L.Ed.2d 165 (1984). In United States v. Shareef, ......
  • Corrigan v. Dist. of Columbia, No. 15-7098
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • November 8, 2016
    ...Id . at 393, 98 S.Ct. 2408 (quoting Terry v. Ohio , 392 U.S. 1, 25–26, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968) ); Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 500, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Cupp v. Murphy , 412 U.S. 291, 295, 93 S.Ct. 2000, 36 L.Ed.2d 900 (1973). Even “[u]rgent government in......
  • United States v. Williams, No. 12–3864.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 24, 2013
    ...United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554, 100 S.Ct. 1870, 64 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980) (opinion of Stewart, J.), and Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 497, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) (plurality); 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 9.4, at 560 (5th ed.2012). In fact, that visibl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6496 cases
  • People v. Smith, No. 2-02-0882.
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • January 30, 2004
    ...fruit of an illegal detention. People v. Brownlee, 186 Ill.2d 501, 519, 239 Ill.Dec. 25, 713 N.E.2d 556 (1999), citing Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 1326, 75 L.Ed.2d 229, 238-39 (1983). Therefore, in analyzing this case it is crucial to identify the type of police-cit......
  • U.S. v. Ruiz, No. 96-CR-227 S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • April 3, 1997
    ...the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Not every contact between a citizen and an officer involves the Fourth Amendment. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983); Florida v. Rodriguez, 469 U.S. 1, 105 S.Ct. 308, 83 L.Ed.2d 165 (1984). In United States v. Shareef, ......
  • Corrigan v. Dist. of Columbia, No. 15-7098
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • November 8, 2016
    ...Id . at 393, 98 S.Ct. 2408 (quoting Terry v. Ohio , 392 U.S. 1, 25–26, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968) ); Florida v. Royer , 460 U.S. 491, 500, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) ; Cupp v. Murphy , 412 U.S. 291, 295, 93 S.Ct. 2000, 36 L.Ed.2d 900 (1973). Even “[u]rgent government in......
  • United States v. Williams, No. 12–3864.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 24, 2013
    ...United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554, 100 S.Ct. 1870, 64 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980) (opinion of Stewart, J.), and Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 497, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) (plurality); 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 9.4, at 560 (5th ed.2012). In fact, that visibl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Silence and Nontestimonial Evidence
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Nbr. 58-2, April 2021
    • April 1, 2021
    ...and its logic: that no person be compelled to give evidence, testimonial or otherwise, against herself. 201. See, e.g., Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 504–06 (1983) (f‌inding that moving the suspect to another room without aff‌irmative consent constituted a seizure). 202. United States v. ......
  • POLICING SUSPICION: QUALIFIED IMMUNITY AND 'CLEARLY ESTABLISHED' STANDARDS OF PROOF.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 112 Nbr. 1, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...(2011). (99) Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 437 (1991). (100) Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 125 (2000) (citing Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, (101) Royer, 460 U.S. at 498. (102) Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85,91 (1979); Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 62 (1968). (103) United Stat......
  • X-Rated X-Ray Invades Privacy Rights
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Policy Review Nbr. 12-4, December 2001
    • December 1, 2001
    ...The drug war on the Constitution. Retrieved April 27, 2001, fromhttp://www.cato.org//realaudio/drugwar/papers/duke.htmlFlorida v. Royer,460 U.S. 491, 502 (1983).Hahn, R. (1996). The cost of antiterrorist rhetoric. Regulation,19,4.Haupt, D., & Neary, J. (1987, September). Justice revealed. L......
  • Officer Safety Trumps Passenger Privacy
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 34-3, September 2009
    • September 1, 2009
    ...338 U.S. 160 (1949).Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 153-54 (1925).Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979).Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983).Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405 (2005).Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113, 117 (1998).Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408 (1997).Michigan v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT