Citation. United States v. Drayton, 536 U.S. 194, 122 S. Ct. 2105, 153 L. Ed. 2d 242, 2002 U.S. LEXIS 4420, 70 U.S.L.W. 4552, 2002 Cal. Daily Op. Service 5321, 2002 Daily Journal DAR 6707, 15 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 367 (U.S. June 17, 2002)
Brief Fact Summary. Two police officers were allowed to board a bus as part of a routine drug and weapons search, and after identifying himself as a police officer, one procured the separate consent of each of the respondents to search their luggage and person and found contraband.
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.
Two police officers were allowed to board a bus as part of a routine drug and weapons search and after identifying himself as a police officer, one asked the two passenger respondents who were seated together to identify their luggage. The respondents identified one piece of luggage as theirs and consented to its search which yielded no evidence. One of the officers then asked if he could check the person of respondent Clifton Brown and he consented, allowing the officer to pat him down, finding packets typically used to carry illegal drugs. The second passenger Christopher Drayton then was asked if he could be checked, and after his consent he was searched as well, with the officer finding cocaine. The respondents’ motion to suppress the evidence at trial based on invalid consent to search was denied, and then the Eleventh Circuit reversed that holding, expressing the view that passengers do not feel free to disregard officers’ request absent some indication consent can b
e refused. The people of the United States were granted certiorari. Issue.
Does the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures require police officers to advise bus passengers of their right not to cooperate or to refuse consent during a routine drug and weapons search?