Citation. DRAPER v. UNITED STATES, 358 U.S. 307, 79 S. Ct. 329, 3 L. Ed. 2d 327, 1959 U.S. LEXIS 1607 (U.S. Jan. 26, 1959)
Brief Fact Summary. Without a warrant, a federal narcotics agent (agent) arrested the Petitioner, Draper (Petitioner), as he disembarked a train. Probable cause for the arrest was based on an informant’s tip, which was corroborated with an accurate, predictive description of the facts surrounding the Petitioner’s return.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Probable cause exists where the known facts and circumstances would cause a reasonable person to believe that an offense had been, or is being, committed.
A federal narcotics agent was given information from a reliable informant that the Petitioner was dealing drugs from his apartment. The informant stated that the Petitioner had gone to Chicago to purchase heroin. The informant told the agent the date the Petitioner would return to Denver from Chicago, the clothes he would be wearing, and the color of the bag he would be carrying. Based on this information, the agent waited for the Petitioner at Denver’s Union Station on the Petitioner’s expected date of return. When the Petitioner disembarked the Chicago train, he was wearing clothes and carrying a bag fitting the informant’s description. Based on this information, the agent arrested the Petitioner without a warrant. Issue.
Did the surrounding facts and circumstances give the federal agent probable cause to believe that the Petitioner had committed, or was committing a crime.
Can probable cause be based on hearsay?