Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chimel v. California case brief

Chimel v. California case brief summary
395 U.S. 752 (1969)

Petitioner appealed from a judgment of the Supreme Court of California, affirming judgments from the lower court convicting him of burglary.

Police came to petitioner's home with an arrest warrant to arrest him for an alleged burglary. When petitioner returned from work, police arrested him. Police then asked for permission to "look around." Even though petitioner objected, the officers conducted a search. They looked through the entire house and had petitioner's wife open drawers and physically remove contents of the drawers so they could view items. Police seized a number of coins and medals, among other things, that respondent State later used to convict petitioner of burglary.


  • Reversing the appeals court's affirmance of conviction, the court held that the search was "unreasonable." It found that there was no justification for searching any room other than that in which the arrest occurred. 
  • Even searching through desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas of the room where the arrest occurred was not appropriate. 
  • Extending the search to the entire house was not proper, and the court overturned the conviction.


The court reversed the judgment.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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