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United States v. Chadwick

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Criminal Procedure keyed to Weinreb

Citation. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 97 S. Ct. 2476, 53 L. Ed. 2d 538, 1977 U.S. LEXIS 133 (U.S. June 21, 1977)

Brief Fact Summary. One and a half hours after arresting the Respondents, Chadwick, Machado, and Leary (Respondents), federal narcotics agents opened a footlocker confiscated during the arrest. The agents had not obtained a warrant to open the footlocker.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Once property cannot be accessed by an arrestee, it cannot be searched without a warrant.

Facts. The Respondents were arrested by federal narcotics agents as they were lifting a footlocker into the trunk of a car. The agents confiscated the footlocker and moved the Respondents, footlocker, and car to the Federal Building in Boston. An hour and a half after the arrest, the agents unlocked the footlocker without a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances. Large amounts of marijuana were found in the footlocker.

Issue. Is a search warrant required to open a locked footlocker that was seized during arrest, when there is probable cause to believe that the footlocker contains contraband?

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