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United States v. Robinson

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 414 U.S. 218, 94 S. Ct. 494, 94 S. Ct. 467, 38 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1973)

Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Robinson (the “defendant”), was pulled over for driving with a revoked license. He was then arrested and the police officer proceeded to do a thorough search of the defendant’s person whereby the officer found a closed cigarette pack which contained heroin.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Incident to a lawful arrest, even for a driving violation, a thorough search (frisk) of an arrestee’s person for weapons and also to prevent the concealment or destruction of incriminating evidence is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution (”Constitution”).

Facts. The defendant was pulled over by the police because he was driving with a revoked license. Thereafter, the officer searched the defendant and felt an object under the defendant’s coat. The officer proceeded to remove a closed cigarette pack from the defendant’s coat which contained heroin.

Issue. May a police officer conduct a thorough search of a person beyond frisking for weapons when the arrestee has committed only a traffic offense?

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