UNITED STATES V. JEFFERS, 342 U. S. 48 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48 (1951)

United States v. Jeffers

No. 3

Argued October 15, 1951

Decided November 13, 1951

342 U.S. 48


1. Without a warrant for search or arrest, but with reason to believe that respondent had narcotics unlawfully concealed there, officers entered the hotel room of respondent's aunts, in their absence and in the absence of respondent, searched it, and seized narcotics claimed by respondent. The search and seizure were not incident to a valid arrest; and there were no exceptional circumstances to justify their being made without a warrant.

Held: The seizure violated the Fourth Amendment; and, on respondent's motion, the narcotics so seized should have been excluded as evidence in his trial for violation of the narcotics laws. Pp. 342 U. S. 49-54.

(a) That the evidence seized in these circumstances was not on respondent's premises, did not deprive him of standing to suppress it. Pp. 342 U. S. 51-52.

(b) Nor is a different result required by the provision of 26 U.S.C. § 3116 that "no property rights shall exist" in such contraband goods. Pp. 342 U. S. 52-54.

2. Since the evidence illegally seized was contraband, the respondent was not entitled to have it returned to him. P. 342 U. S. 54.

88 U.S.App.D.C. 58, 187 F.2d 498, affirmed.

In the District Court, respondent's motion to suppress evidence seized without a warrant was denied, and he was convicted of violating the narcotics laws, 26 U.S.C. § 2553(a) and 21 U.S.C. §174. The Court of Appeals reversed. 88 U.S.App.D.C. 58, 187 F.2d 498. This Court granted certiorari. 340 U.S. 951. Affirmed, p. 342 U. S. 54.

Page 342 U. S. 49

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