Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado v. Western Alfalfa Corporation

PETITIONER: Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado
RESPONDENT: Western Alfalfa Corporation
LOCATION: North DeKalb Shopping Mall

DOCKET NO.: 73-690
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 416 US 861 (1974)
ARGUED: Apr 25, 1974
DECIDED: May 20, 1974

ADVOCATES:
Donald D. Cawelti - for respondent
Edmund W. Kitch - for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court
William Tucker - for petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado v. Western Alfalfa Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 25, 1974 in Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado v. Western Alfalfa Corporation

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 20, 1974 in Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado v. Western Alfalfa Corporation

William O. Douglas:

I also have 73-690, Air Pollution Variance Board of Colorado versus The Western Alfalfa Corp here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Colorado, which held the -- an inspection by a state health inspector to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment, because the inspection was made without a warrant.

The health inspector entered the outdoor premises of respondent in daylight without his knowledge or consent to make an opacity test of smoke, the Ringelmann test commonly used to measure the density of the smoke that was being emitted from the respondent's chimneys, a sight that could be observed from many different points on the premises and off the premises.

We hold that the -- no warrant under the Fourth Amendment was needed under those circumstances.

Thus as Court has held previously in the cases cited that the search does not require a warrant, but extends only to sights that are seen in the open fields and this was comparable to that situation.

Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals of Colorado on that point and remand to it for consideration of such other questions as maybe left open.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Douglas.