Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Andresen v. Maryland case brief (427 U.S. 463)

Andresen v. Maryland
427 U.S. 463 (1976)
Supreme Court of United States (1976)

-Andresen, the defendant, was a real estate attorney who was involved in fraudulent sale of property, (notably: Lot 13T).
-The officers had probable cause and they obtained a warrant to search defendant's law office and his company's office.
-The officers seized documents from the defendant's offices and these documents were used to convict the D.
-D appealed under the 4th and 5th Amendments.
-The court in this case discussed the 5th Amendment (no violation of the 4th Amendment was found).

-Does the use of personal documents, seized during a lawful search, violate the 5th Amendment rights of the D by compelling the D to be a witness against himself?

-No, the use of personal documents of the defendant did not violate 5th Amendment.

-Court stated that D had voluntarily written the incriminating information on his files before the search took place.
-The court further stated that the defendant was never forced to testify about the documents.
-The court used Fisher v. United States where it was ruled that "unless incriminating testimony is 'compelled', any invasion of privacy is outside the scope of the Fifth Amendment's protection." Therefore, the 5th Amendment protects against self-incrimination and not the "disclosure of private information."
-Therefore the court ruled that the use of personal documents of the defendant did not violate 5th Amendment and the conviction was affirmed.

Link to case:  427 U.S. 463 (1976)

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