Monday, November 4, 2013

Rakas v. Illinois case brief

Rakas v. Illinois case brief summary
439 U.S. 128 (1978)

Petitioners sought review of a decision from the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third Division, which affirmed their convictions for armed robbery on the ground that their motion to suppress evidence was properly denied because they lacked standing to object to the unlawful search and seizure of a vehicle under U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV.


  • The Court affirmed petitioners' convictions for armed robbery because their motion to suppress a sawed-off rifle and shells seized by the police during the search of a vehicle in which petitioners were passengers was properly denied. 
  • Noting that the inquiry was essentially the same, the Court expressed that the preferred analysis for determining the scope of constitutional rights protected by the exclusionary rule focused on the substantive question of whether petitioners had their own rights infringed by the police's search and seizure, rather than on the concept of standing, as previously decided. 
  • Further, the Court determined that the appropriate measure of rights was no longer guided solely by whether petitioners were legitimately on the premises that the police searched. 
  • Without holding that a property interest was required, the Court decided that U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV protected only those places in which petitioners themselves had a reasonable expectation of privacy. 
  • Using this analysis, the Court found that petitioners' rights were not violated where they had no legitimate expectation of privacy in areas of a car in which they claimed no property or possessory interest.


The Court affirmed the judgment convicting petitioners of armed robbery because their motion to suppress evidence was properly denied where petitioners' own rights were not violated. Petitioners had no legitimate expectation of privacy in areas of a car in which they claimed no property or possessory interest.

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

1 comment:

  1. Rakas v. Illinois (1978) page 105
    FACTS: Get away driver and two others were stopped. The weapons and ammo was seized. The two others said the weapons and ammo were fruit of illegal search. Court said the two didn’t have a right to object to admission of the evidence. “Depends on whether a person was legitimately on the premises.”
    HELD: Did away with the standing requirement stating that cases referencing standing were simply applying the principle that 4th amendment rights are personal in nature.
    RULE: “No rights of the victim of an illegal search are at stake when the evidence is offered against some other party. The victim can and very probably will object for himself when and if it becomes important for him to do so.”
    Court is saying that the defendant has to establish that their expectation right of privacy was violated. Passenger must establish that they must do more than just SHOW they were on the premises, rather they must also show that they had a privacy expectation on the premises. How one established an expectation of privacy is shown in upcoming cases.
    · Possessory interest
    · Ownership
    · Specific area within a car


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