Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chambers v. Maroney case brief (399 U.S. 42)

Chambers v. Maroney399 U.S. 42 (1970)

FACTS-There was a gas station robbery and witnesses described the 4 robbers to be driving a blue station wagon and one of the robbers wearing a green sweater and the other wearing a trench coat.
-The police officers stopped a blue station wagon which had 4 occupants, and one was wearing green sweater and the other had a trench coat.
-The officers arrested the defendant and his companions, and took the station wagon to the police station. 

-At the police station, the officers searched the car without a warrant and found incriminating evidence which linked the D to the current robbery and another robbery from the past. 
-The D was convicted for both robberies and now he appeals.

1. Did the search result in an unlawful arrest?
2. Did the search of the car violated defendant's 4th Amendment rights?

1. No
2. No

ourt ruled that the arrest was lawful because from the description of the witnesses, the officers had probable cause to believe that the defendant and his companions were the robbers. 

-The court further ruled that the warrantless search of the car was also lawful because cars are treated differently from homes under the 4th Amendment due to the fact that cars are mobile.
-The court used Carroll v. United States which held that if the officers have probable cause to believe that incriminating evidence is hidden inside the car, they can search the car without a warrant.
-The Court stated that since the car was already seized, the greater harm was already done and now that the officers had probable cause to believe that there was evidence in the car, they had the right to search the car without obtaining a warrant. 

-The conviction was affirmed.

Link to case:  399 U.S. 42

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