Lewis v. United States, No. 36

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWARREN
Citation87 S.Ct. 424,17 L.Ed.2d 312,385 U.S. 206
Docket NumberNo. 36
Decision Date12 December 1966
PartiesDuke Lee LEWIS, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES

385 U.S. 206
87 S.Ct. 424
17 L.Ed.2d 312
Duke Lee LEWIS, Petitioner,

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 36.
Argued Oct. 17, 1966.
Decided Dec. 12, 1966.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 20, 1967.

See 386 U.S. 939, 87 S.Ct. 951.

S. Myron Klarfeld, Boston, Mass., for petitioner.

Ralph Spritzer, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Chief Justice WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question for resolution here is whether the Fourth Amendment was violated when a federal narcotics agent,

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by misrepresenting his identity and stating his willingness to purchase narcotics, was invited into petitioner's home where an unlawful narcotics transaction was consummated and the narcotics were thereafter introduced at petitioner's criminal trial over his objection. We hold that under the facts of this case it was not. Those facts are not disputed and may be briefly stated as follows:

On December 3, 1964, Edward Cass, an undercover federal narcotics agent, telephoned petitioner's home to inquire about the possibility of purchasing marihuana. Cass, who previously had not met or dealt with petitioner, falsely identified himself as one 'Jimmy the Pollack (sic)' and stated that a mutual friend had told him petitioner might be able to supply marihuana. In response, petitioner said, 'Yes. I believe, Jimmy, I can take care of you,' and then directed Cass to his home where, it was indicated, a sale of marihuana would occur. Cass drove to petitioner's home, knocked on the door, identified himself as 'Jim,' and was admitted. After discussing the possibility of regular future dealings at a discounted price, petitioner led Cass to a package located on the front porch of his home. Cass gave petitioner $50, took the package, and left the premises. The package contained five bags of marihuana. 1 On December 17, 1964, a similar transaction took place, beginning with a phone conversation in which Cass identified himself as 'Jimmy the Pollack' and ending with an invited visit by Cass to petitioner's home where a second sale of marihuana occurred. Once again, Cass paid petitioner

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$50, but this time he received in return a package containing six bags of marihuana.2

Petitioner was arrested on April 27, 1965, and charged by a two-count indictment with violations of the narcotics laws relating to transfers of marihuana. 26 U.S.C. § 4742(a). A pretrial motion to suppress as evidence the marihuana and the conversations between petitioner and the agent was denied, and they were introduced at the trial. The District Court, sitting without a jury, convicted petitioner on both counts and imposed concurrent five-year penitentiary sentences. The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed, 352 F.2d 799, and we granted certiorari, 382 U.S. 1024, 86 S.Ct. 646, 15 L.Ed.2d 538.

Petitioner does not argue that he was entrapped, as he could not on the facts of this case;3 nor does he contend that a search of his home was made or that anything other than the purchased narcotics was taken away. His only contentions are that, in the absence of a warrant, any official intrusion upon the privacy of a home constitutes a Fourth Amendment violation and that the fact the suspect invited the intrusion cannot be held a waiver when the invitation was induced by fraud and deception.

Both petitioner and the Government recognize the necessity for some undercover police activity and both concede that the particular circumstances of each case govern the admissibility of evidence obtained by stratagem or deception.4 Indeed, it has long been acknowl-

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edged by the decisions of this Court, see Grimm v. United States, 156 U.S. 604, 610, 15 S.Ct. 470, 472, 39 L.Ed. 550 (1895), and Andrews v. United States, 162 U.S. 420, 423, 16 S.Ct. 798, 799, 40 L.Ed. 1023 (1896),5 that, in the detection of many types of crime, the Government is entitled to use decoys and to conceal the identity of its agents. The various protections of the Bill of Rights, of course, provide checks upon such official deception for the protection of the individual. See, e.g., Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246 (1964); Trupiano v. United States, 334 U.S. 699, 68 S.Ct. 1229, 92 L.Ed. 1663 (1948).

Petitioner argues that the Government overstepped the constitutional bounds in this case and places principal reliance on Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, 41 S.Ct. 261, 65 L.Ed. 647 (1921). But a short statement of that case will demonstrate how misplaced his reliance is. There, a business acquaintance of the petitioner, acting under orders of federal officers, obtained entry into the petitioner's office by falsely representing that he intended only to pay a social visit. In the petitioner's absence, however, the

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intruder secretly ransacked the office and seized certain private papers of an incriminating nature. This Court had no difficulty concluding that the Fourth Amendment had been violated by the secret and general ransacking, notwithstanding that the initial intrusion was occasioned by a fraudulently obtained invitation rather than by force or stealth.

In the instant case, on the other hand, the petitioner invited the undercover agent to his home for the specific purpose of executing a felonious sale of narcotics. Petitioner's only concern was whether the agent was a willing purchaser who could pay the agreed price. Indeed, in order to convince the agent that his patronage at petitioner's home was desired, petitioner told him that, if he became a regular customer there, he would in the future receive an extra bag of marihuana at no additional cost; and in fact petitioner...

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756 practice notes
  • McCray v. State of Illinois, No. 159
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 20, 1967
    ...prohibiting the use of informers would 'severely hamper the Government' in enforcement of the narcotics laws. Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 210, 87 S.Ct. 424, 427, 17 L.Ed.2d 312. In sum, the Court in the exercise of its power to formulate evidentiary rules for federal criminal case......
  • Cobb v. Wyrick, Civ. A. No. 73CV49-W-1-3.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • June 20, 1974
    ...1420, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 (1969); Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23, 43, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726, 743 (1963). Cf. Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 87 S.Ct. 424, 17 L.Ed.2d 312 (1966), reh. denied, 386 U.S. 939, 87 S.Ct. 951, 17 L.Ed.2d 811 The limitations on the plain view doctrine are g......
  • Reid v. Pautler, No. CIV 13-0337 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2014
    ...exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. See Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 210 [1966]; United States v. Lee, 274 U.S. 559, 563 . . . (1927). But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the pub......
  • U.S. v. Hardin, No. 06-6277.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2008
    ...enter the bathroom, not the apartment itself, which the manager had entered without any discussion. 11. See, e.g., Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 87 S.Ct. 424, 17 L.Ed.2d 312 (1966). In Lewis, the Supreme Court held that "when, as here, the home is converted into a commercial center ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
755 cases
  • McCray v. State of Illinois, No. 159
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 20, 1967
    ...prohibiting the use of informers would 'severely hamper the Government' in enforcement of the narcotics laws. Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 210, 87 S.Ct. 424, 427, 17 L.Ed.2d 312. In sum, the Court in the exercise of its power to formulate evidentiary rules for federal criminal case......
  • Cobb v. Wyrick, Civ. A. No. 73CV49-W-1-3.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • June 20, 1974
    ...1420, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 (1969); Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23, 43, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726, 743 (1963). Cf. Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 87 S.Ct. 424, 17 L.Ed.2d 312 (1966), reh. denied, 386 U.S. 939, 87 S.Ct. 951, 17 L.Ed.2d 811 The limitations on the plain view doctrine are g......
  • Reid v. Pautler, No. CIV 13-0337 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2014
    ...exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. See Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 210 [1966]; United States v. Lee, 274 U.S. 559, 563 . . . (1927). But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the pub......
  • U.S. v. Hardin, No. 06-6277.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2008
    ...enter the bathroom, not the apartment itself, which the manager had entered without any discussion. 11. See, e.g., Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 87 S.Ct. 424, 17 L.Ed.2d 312 (1966). In Lewis, the Supreme Court held that "when, as here, the home is converted into a commercial center ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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