Aguilar v. Texas

LOCATION: New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

CITATION: 378 US 108 (1964)
ARGUED: Mar 25, 1964 / Mar 26, 1964
DECIDED: Jun 15, 1964

Facts of the case

In Houston police officers filed a request for a warrant to perform the search of the narcotics in Nick Alford Aguilar home. They explained such suspicions by the information from the confident reliable source they didn`t open, but they didn’t` have any other complaints. Under these testimonies the accused distributed different types of drugs. When the warrant was ordered, the policemen arrived at the Aguilar home, then informed about their presence and duties and heard strange sounds inside. They entered the house and found the defendant trying to destroy the narcotics and arrested him.

During the prosecution, the accused argued that the permission on search was obtained unlawfully. However the court confirmed his guilt, but the appeal trial approved certiorari to him.

The case study explained the background to issue the warrant must be facts presented and adopted by the neutral magistrate, but not only somebody`s conclusions, beliefs, etc. The judges found that in this prosecution it was ordered without any factual information and enough evidence confirming the existence of crime. Moreover, there was only one testimony provided by the confident source that could be considered as just beliefs.

Therefore the Court revised and changed the judgment proving that the police search took place without the legitimate scope of background for it, thus the prosecution was canceled.

The case brief reflected that this judgment caused the establishment of the Aguilar-Spinelli test that summarized the requirements for the information to apply for the warrant, but, furthermore, it was changed in Illinois v. Gates.


Media for Aguilar v. Texas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1964 in Aguilar v. Texas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 26, 1964 in Aguilar v. Texas

Earl Warren:

-- Petitioner versus Texas.

Carl E. F. Dally:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Dally.

Carl E. F. Dally:

Before leaving and concluding my argument, I would like to make it very clear that the State of Texas relies upon the affidavit opinion sale for stating probable cause in this case.

We stated in our brief and we still would contend that actually the affidavit would be sufficient even under the federal standards.

And in support of that we would like to call the Court's attention to the case of Eisner versus United States found in 297 Federal Reporter.

In that case a federal court has upheld an affidavit which read as follows."

Information has been obtained by SA Clifford Anderson, FBI, Cincinnati, Ohio which he believes to be reliable to the effect that Sam Eisner received first which were a part of the loot from the Davidson Indiana Fur Company in Kentucky after they have been transported from Indianapolis and had knowledge that they have been stolen."

This particular affidavit certainly is no stronger than the one that we have in the present case.

Certiorari was denied in this case and we would offer that in support of the fact that the affidavit found in the present case may even be of such standard that it would meet the federal requirement.

Hugo L. Black:

What case was that?

Carl E. F. Dally:

That was the case of Eisner versus United States, Your Honor and its 297, Federal Reporter 2d, page 595 and I believe decided --

Earl Warren:

Is that in your brief?

Carl E. F. Dally:

It's cited in my brief, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

Cited in your brief.

Carl E. F. Dally:

We would also say that the -- that this Honorable Court in their Opinion of Ker versus California, as used much of the language that would be applicable in this present case and that is that federally that the Mapp decision did not ring the bell for federalism that the states and the United States would still operate side by side, that the same standards would not be applied.

We would say and we respectfully submit that the Court of Criminal Appeals of the State of Texas in approving this affidavit applied the fundamental criteria from the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and respectfully submit that the case should be affirmed.

Thank you.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Woody.

Clyde W. Woody:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

One thing that I would like the Court to be cognizant of is my position so far as the hearsay is concerned.

On page 11 of my brief, I'm not -- I am not attacking this proposition, this affidavit on the constitutionality of an affidavit based on hearsay.

That's not my major contention.

It is that it does not state sufficient facts.

Now the Eisner case and the Rugendorf case that counsel has referred to do state facts distinguished from conclusions.

And this Honorable Court in Nathanson versus United States, it is a matter of fact which was reaffirmed in Jones versus United States, the case that he relies on here.

And in the Nathanson case, may it please the Court, here is the affidavit which this Court held inadequate and insufficient so far as this position is concerned.

And here is the affidavit.

Whereas, he said Francis B. Laughlin, has stated under his oath that he has cause to suspect and thus believe that certain merchandise to wit, certain liquors of foreign origin and more particular description of which cannot be given upon which is otherwise been bought into the United States contrary to law.

And that said merchandise is now deposited and contained within the premises of JJ Nathanson, said premises being described as a two-storey framed building at 117 North Bartram Avenue.