Marron v. United States, No. 185

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBUTLER
Citation275 U.S. 192,72 L.Ed. 231,48 S.Ct. 74
PartiesMARRON v. UNITED STATES. *
Docket NumberNo. 185
Decision Date21 November 1927

275 U.S. 192
48 S.Ct. 74
72 L.Ed. 231
MARRON

v.

UNITED STATES.*

No. 185.
Argued Oct. 12, 1927.
Decided Nov. 21, 1927.

Messrs. Hugh L. Smith, and Benjamin L. McKinley, both of San Francisco, Cal., for petitioner.

The Attorney General and Mrs. Mabel Walker Willebrandt, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the United States.

Page 193

Mr. Justice BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

October 17, 1924, the above-named petitioner, one Birdsall, and five others were indicted in the Southern division of the Northern district of California. It was charged that they conspired to commit various offenses against the National Prohibition Act, including the maintenance of a nuisance at 1249 Polk street, San Francisco. Section 37, Criminal Code (U. S. C. tit. 18, § 88 (18 USCA § 88)). One defendant was never apprehended; one was acquitted; the rest were found guilty. Of these, Marron, Birdsall, and two others obtained review in the Circuit Court of Appeals. The judgment was affirmed as to all except petitioner. He secured reversal and a new trial. 8 F.(2d) 251. He was again found guilty, and the conviction was affirmed, 18 F.(2d) 218.

Petitioner insists that a ledger and certain bills were obtained through an illegal search and seizure and put in evidence against him, in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The question arose at the first trial. The Circuit Court of Appeals held that the book and papers were lawfully seized and admissible. When the second conviction was before it, that court held the earlier decision governed the trial, established the law of the case, and foreclosed further consideration.

For some time prior to October 1, 1924, petitioner was the lessee of the entire second floor of 1249 Polk street. On that day a prohibition agent obtained from a United States commissioner a warrant for the search of that place, particularly describing the things to be seized-intoxicating liquors and articles for their manufacture. The next day, four prohibition agents went to the place and secured admission by causing the doorbell to be rung. There were six or seven rooms, containing slot machines,

Page 194

an ice box, tables, chairs, and a cash register. The evidence shows that the place was used for retailing and drinking intoxicating liquors. About a dozen men and women were there, and some of them were being furnished intoxicating liquors. The petitioner was not there; Birdsall was in charge. The agents handed him the warrant and put him under arrest. They searched for and found large quantities of liquor, some of which were in a closet. While in the closet, they noticed a ledger showing inventories of liquors, receipts, expenses, including gifts to police officers, and other things relating to the business. And they found, beside the cash register, a number of bills against petitioner for gas, electric light, water, and telephone service furnished on the premises. They seized the ledger and bills. The return made on the search warrant showed only the seizure of the intoxicating liquors. It did not show the discovery or seizure of the ledger or bills. After indictment and before trial, petitioner applied to the court for the return of the ledger and bills and to suppress evidence concerning them. The application was denied. At the trial there was evidence to show that petitioner made most of the entries in the ledger and that he was concerned as proprietor or partner in carrying on the business of selling intoxicating liquors.

It has long been settled that the Fifth Amendment protects every person against incrimination by the use of evidence obtained through search or seizure made in violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment. Agnello v. United States, 269 U. S. 20, 34, and cases cited, 46 S. Ct. 4, 70 L. Ed. 145.

The petitioner insists that because the ledger and bills were not described in the warrant and as he was not arrested with them on his person, their seizure violated the Fourth Amendment. The United States contends that the seizure may be justified either as an incident to the execution of the search warrant, or as an incident to the

Page 195

right of search arising from the arrest of Birdsall while in charge of the saloon. Both questions are presented. Lower courts have expressed divers views in respect of searches in similar cases. The brief for the government states that the facts of this case present one of the most frequent causes of appeals in current cases. And for these reasons we deal with both contentions.

1. The Fourth Amendment declares that the right to be secure against unreasonable searches shall not be violated, and it further declares that:

'No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.'

General searches have long been deemed to violate fundamental rights. It is plain that the amendment forbids them. In Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, page 624, 6 S. Ct. 524, 529 (29 L. Ed. 746), Mr. Justice Bradley, writing for the court, said:

'In order to ascertain the nature of the proceedings intended by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution under the terms 'unreasonable searches and seizures,' it is only necessary to recall the contemporary or then recent history of the controversies on the subject, both in this country and in England. The practice had obtained in the colonies of issuing writs of assistance to the revenue officers, empowering...

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1191 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Miller, No. 78-1093
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • November 15, 1978
    ...it up was not exploratory rummaging, but rather went directly to the purpose of the officers' presence. See Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927). As in Michigan v. Tyler, it was self-evidently relevant to the non-criminal purpose of the investigation (find......
  • Dalia v. United States, No. 77-1722
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 1979
    ...91 S.Ct. 2022, 2038 (1971). See Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476, 485, 85 S.Ct. 506, 511, 13 L.Ed.2d 431 (1965); Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196, 48 S.Ct. 74, 76, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927).* As a consequence, a warrant that describes Page 261 only the seizure of conversations cannot be ......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...975 F.2d 72, 75 (2d Cir.1992), and thus "prevent[ ] the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another," Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927). These well-settled principles, applied here, compel the conclusion that the FBI search warrant was ......
  • Di Bella v. United States, No. 349
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 23, 1960
    ...on the Court. This is not the occasion to attempt to reconcile all the decisions, or to re-examine them. Compare Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231, with Go-Bart Importing Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 344, 51 S.Ct. 153, 75 L.Ed. 374, and United States v. Lefk......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1190 cases
  • U.S. v. Miller, No. 78-1093
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • November 15, 1978
    ...it up was not exploratory rummaging, but rather went directly to the purpose of the officers' presence. See Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927). As in Michigan v. Tyler, it was self-evidently relevant to the non-criminal purpose of the investigation (find......
  • Dalia v. United States, No. 77-1722
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 1979
    ...91 S.Ct. 2022, 2038 (1971). See Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476, 485, 85 S.Ct. 506, 511, 13 L.Ed.2d 431 (1965); Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196, 48 S.Ct. 74, 76, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927).* As a consequence, a warrant that describes Page 261 only the seizure of conversations cannot be ......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...975 F.2d 72, 75 (2d Cir.1992), and thus "prevent[ ] the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another," Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231 (1927). These well-settled principles, applied here, compel the conclusion that the FBI search warrant was ......
  • Di Bella v. United States, No. 349
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 23, 1960
    ...on the Court. This is not the occasion to attempt to reconcile all the decisions, or to re-examine them. Compare Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 48 S.Ct. 74, 72 L.Ed. 231, with Go-Bart Importing Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 344, 51 S.Ct. 153, 75 L.Ed. 374, and United States v. Lefk......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Against Geofences.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 74 Nbr. 2, February 2022
    • February 1, 2022
    ...v. United States, 333 U.S. 10,13-15 (1948). (113.) See infra Part IV.A.3. (114.) U.S. Const, amend. IV. (115.) Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196 (116.) 2 WAYNE R. LAFAVE, JEROLD H. ISRAEL, NANCY J. KING & ORIN S. KERR, CRIMINAL PROCEDURE [section] 3.4(f) (West 2021). (117.) Id.......

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