United States v. Jeffers, No. 3

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation96 L.Ed. 59,342 U.S. 48,72 S.Ct. 93
PartiesUNITED STATES v. JEFFERS
Decision Date13 November 1951
Docket NumberNo. 3

342 U.S. 48
72 S.Ct. 93
96 L.Ed. 59
UNITED STATES

v.

JEFFERS.

No. 3.
Argued Oct. 15, 1951.
Decided Nov. 13, 1951.

Beatrice Rosenberg, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. T. Emmett McKenzie, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Page 49

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Here we are faced with troublesome questions as to the exclusion from evidence, on motion of the accused, of contraband narcotics claimed by him which were seized on the premises of other persons in the course of a search without a warrant. On the basis of the seized narcotics, the accused, respondent here, was convicted of violation of the narcotics laws, 26 U.S.C. § 2553(a), 26 U.S.C.A. § 2553(a), and 21 U.S.C. § 174, 21 U.S.C.A. § 174.1 Prior to trial the District Court had denied respondent's motion to suppress, as evidence at the trial, the property seized. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction by a divided court, 88 U.S.App.D.C. 58, 187 F.2d 498. Since a determination of the question is important in the administration of criminal justice, we brought the case here. 340 U.S. 951, 71 S.Ct. 570, 95 L.Ed. 685.

The evidence showed that one Roberts came to the Dunbar Hotel in the District of Columbia on Monday,

Page 50

September 12, 1949, at about 3 p.m., sought out the house detective, Scott, and offered him $500 to let him into a room in the hotel occupied by respondent's two aunts, the Misses Jeffries. Roberts told Scott that respondent had 'some stuff stashed' in the room. The house detective told Roberts to call back later in the evening and he would see about it. He then immediately reported the incident to Lieut. Karper, in charge of the narcotics squad of the Metropolitan Police, who came to the hotel about 4 p.m. Karper went with Scott to the room occupied by the Misses Jeffries. When there was no answer to their knock on the door the two officers then went to the assistant manager and obtained a key to the room. Although neither officer had either a search or an arrest warrant they unlocked the door, entered the room and, in the absence of the Misses Jeffries as well as the respondent, proceeded to conduct a detailed search thereof. On the top shelf of a closet they discovered a pasteboard box containing 19 bottles of cocaine, of which only two had U.S. tax stamps attached, and one bottle of codeine, also without stamps. The bottles were seized and taken to Scott's office, where Lieut. Karper telephoned the federal narcotics agent and upon the latter's arrival turned the seized articles over to him. Respondent was arrested the following day on the charges before us, at which time he claimed ownership of the narcotics seized.

It appeared from the evidence at the pretrial hearing that the Misses Jeffries had given respondent a key to their room, that he had their permission to use the room at will, and that he often entered the room for various purposes. They had not given him permission to store narcotics there and had no knowledge that any were so stored. The hotel records reflected that the room was assigned to and paid for by them alone.

We agree with the Court of Appeals that the seizure was made in violation of the Fourth Amendment and on

Page 51

motion of respondent its fruits should have been excluded as evidence on his trial.

The Fourth Amendment2 prohibits both unreasonable searches and unreasonable seizures, and its protection extends to both 'houses' and 'effects.' Over and again this Court has emphasized that the mandate of the Amendment requires adherence to judicial processes. See Weeks v. United States, 1914, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S.Ct. 341, 58 L.Ed. 652; Agnello v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 20, 46 S.Ct. 4, 70 L.Ed. 145. Only where incident to a valid arrest, United States v. Rabinowitz, 1950, 339 U.S. 56, 70 S.Ct. 430, 94 L.Ed. 653, or in 'exceptional circumstances,' Johnson v. United States, 1948, 333 U.S. 10, 68 S.Ct. 367, 92 L.Ed. 436, may an exemption lie, and then the burden is on those seeking the exemption to show the need for it, McDonald v. United States, 1948, 335 U.S. 451, 456, 69 S.Ct. 191, 93 L.Ed. 153. In so doing the Amendment does not place an unduly oppressive weight on law enforcement officers but merely interposes an orderly procedure under the aegis of judicial impartiality that is necessary to attain the beneficent purposes...

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1054 practice notes
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...States v. Railroad Co., 17 Wall. 322, 21 L.Ed. 597; Quong Ham Wah Co. v. Industrial Acc. Comm., supra; cf. United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 52, 72 S.Ct. 93, 95, 96 L.Ed. 59; Federal Communications Comm. v. Sanders Brothers Radio Station, 309 U.S. 470, 642, 60 S.Ct. 693, 84 L.Ed. 869, ......
  • United States v. Wurie, No. 11–1792.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • May 17, 2013
    ...suggested that they are unworkable, and it bears the burden of justifying its failure to obtain a warrant. See United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51, 72 S.Ct. 93, 96 L.Ed. 59 (1951). “[T]he mere fact that law enforcement may be made more efficient can never by itself justify disregard o......
  • Evans v. Chalmers, Nos. 11–1436
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 17, 2012
    ...has declared, is to be preferred because it “interposes an orderly procedure” involving “judicial impartiality,” United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51 [72 S.Ct. 93, 96 L.Ed. 59] (1951), whereby “a neutral and detached magistrate,” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 [68 S.Ct. 367,......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...413, 17 L.Ed.2d 374 (1966); Stoner v. California, 376 U.S. 483, 490, 84 S.Ct. 889, 893, 11 L.Ed.2d 856 (1964); United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51-52, 72 S.Ct. 93, 95, 96 L.Ed. 59 (1951); United States v. Richard, 994 F.2d 244, 247 (5th The presumptive unreasonableness of a warrantles......
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1055 cases
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...States v. Railroad Co., 17 Wall. 322, 21 L.Ed. 597; Quong Ham Wah Co. v. Industrial Acc. Comm., supra; cf. United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 52, 72 S.Ct. 93, 95, 96 L.Ed. 59; Federal Communications Comm. v. Sanders Brothers Radio Station, 309 U.S. 470, 642, 60 S.Ct. 693, 84 L.Ed. 869, ......
  • United States v. Wurie, No. 11–1792.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • May 17, 2013
    ...suggested that they are unworkable, and it bears the burden of justifying its failure to obtain a warrant. See United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51, 72 S.Ct. 93, 96 L.Ed. 59 (1951). “[T]he mere fact that law enforcement may be made more efficient can never by itself justify disregard o......
  • Evans v. Chalmers, Nos. 11–1436
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 17, 2012
    ...has declared, is to be preferred because it “interposes an orderly procedure” involving “judicial impartiality,” United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51 [72 S.Ct. 93, 96 L.Ed. 59] (1951), whereby “a neutral and detached magistrate,” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 [68 S.Ct. 367,......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...413, 17 L.Ed.2d 374 (1966); Stoner v. California, 376 U.S. 483, 490, 84 S.Ct. 889, 893, 11 L.Ed.2d 856 (1964); United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 51-52, 72 S.Ct. 93, 95, 96 L.Ed. 59 (1951); United States v. Richard, 994 F.2d 244, 247 (5th The presumptive unreasonableness of a warrantles......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • SOCIAL NORMS IN FOURTH AMENDMENT LAW.
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 Nbr. 2, November 2021
    • November 1, 2021
    ...See Randolph, 547 U.S. at 112, 114 (first citing Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 610 (1961); then citing United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48,51 (1951); and then citing 2 HERBERT THORNDIKE TIFFANY, THE LAW OF REAL PROPERTY [section][section]468,473-74, at 297,307-309 (Basil Jones e......

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