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United States v. Drayton

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 536 U.S. 194, 122 S. Ct. 2105, 153 L. Ed. 2d 242 (2002)

Brief Fact Summary. A police search of bus passengers revealed drugs in the defendant’s bags and on his person.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. “The Fourth Amendment does not require police officers to advise bus passengers of their right not to cooperate and to refuse consent to searches.”


Facts. Respondents Drayton and Brown were traveling on a passenger bus that was stopped for a routine search by three police officers. Two positioned themselves up front; one proceeded down the aisle, engaging the passengers in conversation. According to his testimony, passengers were not required to cooperate. However, he did not inform the passengers of this fact. The respondents were seated next to each other. The officer informed them, in a voice “just loud enough” for them to hear, that he was part of an interdiction effort, and asked if they had any bags. When they indicated one above them, he requested permission to check it, which they granted. Finding nothing, the officer requested to check Brown’s person. Brown granted permission. During the pat down, the officer detected hard packages similar to those used to transport drugs. Brown was taken into custody. When the officer asked Drayton, Drayton raised his hands about eight inches from his legs. The officer foun
d similar hard packages, and took Drayton into custody. Upon further searching, both respondents were found to be carrying sizeable amounts of cocaine.

Issue. “[W]hether officers must advise bus passengers during these encounters of their right not to cooperate.”

Content Type: Brief


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