Sunday, November 3, 2013

Maryland v. Buie case brief

Maryland v. Buie case brief summary
494 U.S. 325 (1990)

The State sought certiorari review of an order of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which, at defendant's armed robbery trial, suppressed evidence seized in plain view during a protective sweep because the officer who conducted the sweep did not have probable cause to believe that a serious and demonstrable potentiality for danger existed.

Following armed robbery by two men, police arrested defendant in his home after defendant came up from his basement. Police conducted a protective sweep of the basement and found, in plain view, a sweat suit like the one worn in the robbery for which defendant was arrested. The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress and convicted defendant, but the court of appeals reversed.

  • The Court granted certiorari and vacated the court of appeal's decision, finding that arresting officers were permitted to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety after, and during, the arrest, and that interest was sufficient to outweigh the possible intrusion. 
  • The Court found that no search warrant was required and that officers could, as a precautionary matter and without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, look in spaces immediately adjoining the place of arrest from which an attack could be immediately launched. 
  • Beyond that, the Court held that there had to be articulate facts which, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts, would warrant a reasonably prudent officer in believing that the area to be swept harbored an individual posing a danger.


The Court vacated the judgment below suppressing evidence and remanded the case to the Court of Appeals.

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

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