Board of License Comm'rs of Tiverton v. Pastore

PETITIONER: Board of License Comm'rs of Tiverton
LOCATION: United States Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 83-963
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Rhode Island Supreme Court

CITATION: 469 US 238 (1985)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 1984
DECIDED: Jan 08, 1985

John H. Hines, Jr. - on behalf of the respondents;
Kathleen Managhan - on behalf of the petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Board of License Comm'rs of Tiverton v. Pastore

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 27, 1984 in Board of License Comm'rs of Tiverton v. Pastore

Warren E. Burger:

Ms. Managhan, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Kathleen Managhan:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

This is an appeal from a decision of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The issue before you today is whether the exclusionary rule should be applied to exclude the admission of evidence at an administrative hearing, in this case a liquor license revocation hearing, which evidence has already been excluded from use at criminal trial.

The lower court, the Rhode Island Supreme Court, answered this question affirmatively.

The evidence excluded in this case, stolen property, clothing, was found on the premises of the Attic Lounge, a licensed Tiverton, Rhode Island liquor-serving establishment.

On March 11, 1977, the Tiverton police entered the Attic Lounge pursuant to a search warrant which had been obtained by them after receiving a tip from a neighboring police department that they would find stolen property on the property of the Attic Lounge.

They entered the lounge, they found the stolen property.

However, later that warrant was held defective by a Rhode Island Superior Court judge, and therefore the search warrant was quashed.

Harry A. Blackmun:

On what grounds?

Kathleen Managhan:

It is my understanding the grounds for the quashing of the warrant were that the police did not knock prior to entering the premises of the Attic Lounge, and also apparently the trial court judge believed that the affidavit which accompanied and caused the warrant to issue did not show probable, sufficient probable cause.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Is this in the record at all, the reasons for the quashing?

Kathleen Managhan:

Yes, I believe it is.

Harry A. Blackmun:

It is?

Kathleen Managhan:

We do not have a record of the actual criminal proceedings, but they are referred to.

Harry A. Blackmun:

I certainly didn't... I didn't get it from the brief.

Kathleen Managhan:

That is correct.

It is, however, in the appendix, Your Honor.

Because of the quashing of the warrant, criminal charges--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Ms. Managhan, under New Jersey law, could the officers have entered the bar without a warrant and made a search under the authority of the liquor control laws regardless of any--

Kathleen Managhan:

--Yes, Mrs. Justice O'Connor.

Under Rhode Island law, because this was a licensed liquor-serving establishment, there is a particular Rhode Island statute... I believe it is cited in the appendix to my brief... which allows police officers and other municipal officials at any time to enter the premises of a licensed liquor-serving establishment in order to see whether they are carrying out their operations within the parameters of the law, and for other reasons.

This was in fact acknowledged by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in its decision.

In this case, however, in this case the Tiverton police did in fact seek a warrant.

Obviously their chief thought was in order to obtain stolen property, they did go into the premises of the bar, found the stolen property, but the warrant was quashed.

This, of course, meant that the criminal charges which the State of Rhode Island had initially brought against the manager of the bar and against the bartender, had to be dropped.

However, the Tiverton Town Council, which functions as a local licensing authority for bars within its jurisdiction, had also started procedures, liquor license revocation procedures, against the owner of the Attic Lounge.

They had begun these procedures pursuant to a Rhode Island statute, another Rhode Island statute which I believe appears in the appendix to my petition, which allows a municipality to revoke a liquor license where it can be shown that any state law was violated on the premises of that licensed establishment.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

--Was one part owner of the Attic Lounge also a member of the town council?

What was the link?