California v. Acevedo

California v. Acevedo
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued January 8, 1991
Decided May 30, 1991
Full case nameCalifornia v. Charles Steven Acevedo
Citations500 U.S. 565 (more)
111 S. Ct. 1982; 114 L. Ed. 2d 619; 59 U.S.L.W. 4559
Case history
PriorPeople v. Acevedo, 216 Cal.App.3d 586, 265 Cal.Rptr. 23 (App. 4th Dist. 1989)
Police, in a search extending only to a container within an automobile, may search the container without a warrant where they have probable cause to believe that it holds contraband or evidence.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
Byron White · Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun · John P. Stevens
Sandra Day O'Connor · Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy · David Souter
Case opinions
MajorityBlackmun, joined by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter
DissentStevens, joined by Marshall
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. IV
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
Arkansas v. Sanders (1979) (in part)

California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565 (1991), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court, which interpreted the Carroll doctrine to provide one rule to govern all automobile searches. The Court stated, "The police may search an automobile and the containers within it where they have probable cause to believe contraband or evidence is contained." The decision also overruled the distinctions in United States v. Chadwick (1977) and Arkansas v. Sanders (1979) which had previously held that, if probable cause existed to search an automobile, the police may perform a warrantless search of the automobile and the containers within it, but if the police only had probable cause to search a container in the automobile, the police first had to obtain a warrant before searching the container.

It thereby confirmed Carroll v. United States (1925), which held that a warrantless search of an automobile based upon probable cause to believe that the vehicle contained evidence of crime in the light of an exigency arising out of the vehicle's likely disappearance did not contravene the Fourth Amendment's Warrant Clause.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Harlow, J. M. (1992). "California v. Acevedo: The Ominous March of a Loyal Foot Soldier". Louisiana Law Review. 52 (5): 1205–1266. ISSN 0024-6859.
  • Pizarro, G. A. (1992). "California v. Acevedo: The Emerging Role of Law Enforcement Officers: Acting as Magistrate". Criminal Justice Journal. 13 (2): 367–384. ISSN 1478-1387.
  • Tomkovicz, J. J. (1992). "California v. Acevedo: The Walls Close in on the Warrant Requirement". American Criminal Law Review. 29 (4): 1103–1177. ISSN 0164-0364.

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