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Chimel v. California

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 395 U.S. 752, 89 S. Ct. 2034, 23 L. Ed. 2d 685 (1969)

Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Chimel (the “defendant”), was arrested inside his home and police asked him for consent to search the home. The defendant refused the request. The police proceeded nonetheless, incident to the lawful arrest and searched in different rooms. The police also had the defendant’s wife open various dresser drawers and remove their contents.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Incident to a lawful arrest, a search of any area beyond the arrestee’s immediate control, is unlawful under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution (”Constitution”), unless there is a clear danger that evidence may be destroyed or concealed or there is an imminent threat of harm to the arresting officers.


Facts. The police came to Defendant’s home with an arrest warrant for an alleged burglary. The police asked permission to “look around” the house. The defendant refused the request and the police proceeded to search the home anyways. The police also made the defendant’s wife remove contents of various dresser drawers. The police seized coins and medals which were later used to convict the defendant of burglary.

Issue. Where a defendant is lawfully arrested inside his home, is a warrantless search of the area beyond the defendant’s immediate control constitutional?

Content Type: Brief


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