Illinois v. Rodriguez

Illinois v. Rodriguez

United States Supreme Court
497 U.S. 177 (1990)

ISSUE: Does an officer's mistaken but objectively honest belief that a person has common authority to consent to a search of a residence render the search unreasonable if the person in fact does not live there but had a key?
HOLDING: No.
FACTS:
  • Police were summoned because of a complaint of physical abuse, and they were met by Fischer who had been beaten up
  • Fischer agreed to take the police to D's apartment, which described as "our" apartment
  • Upon arrival, she used her key to enter and let the police in where they found cocaine and drug paraphernalia in plain view
  • They then arrested D inside
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
  • Cir. Ct. granted motion to suppress but it concluded that Fischer was not a usual resident but rather an infrequent visitor
  • Appellate Ct. affirmed and Sup. Ct. denied review
RULES:
  • United States v. Matlock: Common authority rests on mutual use of the property by persons generally having joint access or control for most purposes
REASONING:
  • State has not satisfied burden: State has not established that Fischer had joint access or control for most purposes because she had no clothes there, her name wasn't on the lease, and her key was taken without D's knowledge
  • No requirement that judgment be correct: 4th Amdt. guarantees and individual that no search will be "unreasonable," not that the judgment of govt. officials will always be correct
    • If an official's determination later turns out to be incorrect, that is just one of the inconveniences that one must suffer for living in a safe society
    • Some room must be allowed for mistakes
  • Objective standard: Determination of consent must be judged by an objective standard

COMMENTS:

 

Leave a Reply