Explore BrainMass

Search and Seizure Under the Fourth Amendment

The courts have dealt with the issues of search and seizure often, and the law concerning search and seizure is often confusing.

Is the exclusion of evidence that is obtained through an improper search the appropriate response to an improper search or is there a better way to deal with such situations?

Solution Preview

I approached the question by giving the student an example of two cases where the Supreme Court ruled differently based on two different fact patterns. From these two cases the student will be able to answer the question which is based on the student's own opinion whether there is a better way to deal with search and seizure situations.

Thank you for using Brainmass!


The question posted is asking your opinion regarding search and seizure laws as it is being implemented today. To help you answer the question, I will summarize the most current cases that describe the Supreme Court's opinions on search and seizure issues. Rather than going through the history, which is complicating and confusing, I will summarize these cases and from that information, I hope you can draw your own opinion how there can be a better alternative method to deal with improper searches so that it can overcome exclusion of evidence in the courts.

There are two cases summarized dealing with search and seizure. These two cases reflect the distinction in the Court's treatment of search and seizure cases involving private dwellings versus movable objects. The first is G. M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, a 1977 case dealing with a warrantless entry into a private dwelling by the Internal Revenue Service. The other case is United States v. Ross, a 1982 case with a warrantless search and seizure of a movable object, i.e. a vehicle.

U.S. Constitution
Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and 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.

G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 352 -53 (1977)

Facts: This is a case where the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized several automobiles and entered the private dwelling, the office, of petitioner who was a fugitive from the law and who had owned past taxes. The IRS agents seized without a warrant several cars of the petitioner which were located in a public place. The IRS agents, thereafter, went to petitioner's office and entered with force without a warrant. The IRS agents did not seize anything at this first entry, however, they returned two days later and again entered the office without a warrant but this time seized books, records, and other property.

Petitioner filed a suit in the Federal District Court claiming violation of his Fourth Amendment rights because of warrantless search and seizure. The District Court ...

Solution Summary

This is a 10,685 word document that guides the student to answer the question whether the exclusion of evidence obtained through an improper search is an appropriate response or is there a better way to deal with this kind of situation. The solution cites two U. S. Supreme Court cases where the Court ruled differently based on two different fact patterns.