Sunday, November 3, 2013

United States v. Montoya-Hernandez case brief

United States v. Montoya-Hernandez case brief summary
473 U.S. 531 (1985)

The government appealed the judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which, under U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV, reversed the district court's holding that defendant was guilty of federal narcotics offenses in an action where defendant was subject to search and seizure.

Defendant entered the United States at an airport. Customs inspectors detained Defendant upon her arrival based upon a suspicion that she was smuggling drugs. Inspectors detained defendant for at least 16 hours before defendant passed balloons filled with cocaine from her alimentary canal. Defendant was given the opportunity to undergo an x-ray. Inspectors sought a search warrant after several hours. Defendant alleged that her Fourth Amendment,U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV, rights were violated by an unreasonable detention. The government contended that the inspectors reasonably suspected defendant as an alimentary canal smuggler.

  • The court held that the standard to be applied at the border was a reasonable suspicion. 
  • Based on the facts of this case, the length of time defendant was detained was reasonable. 
  • The court reversed the appellate court and upheld defendant's conviction.

The court reversed the appellate court's judgment that defendant was subject to unreasonable search and seizure and upheld the conviction entered for charges brought by the government because custom agents were subject to a reasonable suspicion standard under the Fourth Amendment for detaining suspects.

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

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