Maryland v. Buie Case Brief
United States Supreme Court
494 U.S. 325 (1990)
ISSUE: Is a protective sweep of a house to ensure that there are no persons hidden that could harm officers while effecting an arrest reasonable under the 4th Amdt.?
HOLDING: Yes, when the searching officer possesses a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts that the area to be swept harbors an individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene during an in-home arrest, the police may conduct a protective sweep.
- 2 men committed an armed robbery of a pizza restaurant, and the police obtained arrest warrants for D and another person
- After making sure D would be home, the officers executed the arrest warrants and found D in the basement
- After arresting D, an officer returned to the basement to make sure no one was hiding there and found the track suit used in the robbery in plain view
- Trial Ct. denied motion to suppress
- Ct. App. reversed
- Protective sweeps valid: Arresting officers are permitted to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety during and after making the arrest
- There must be specific and articulable facts which, taken together with the rational inferences drawn from them, would warrant a reasonably prudent officer in believing that the area to be swept harbors and individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene
- May only be a cursory inspection and not a full sweep
- This case presents the proposition that the police may perform a cursory protective sweep of a residence when performing a lawful arrest if they reasonably believe that the area to be swept harbors a dangerous individual. This would mean that a normal-sized cigar box is off limits. However, the Plain View Doctrine still applies if the police find contraband in "plain view" while performing a Buie protective sweep.