Bond v. United States Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Petitioner was convicted of possessing and using a chemical weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 229(a). Petitioner sought revenge against a woman with whom her husband had carried on an affair with by spreading two toxic chemicals on the woman’s car, mailbox, and door knob in hopes that the target would develop an uncomfortable rash. On one occasion the target suffered a minor chemical burn that she treated by rinsing with water, but petitioner’s attempted assaults were otherwise entirely unsuccessful. Petitioner moved to dismiss the chemical weapons charges on the ground that the Act violates the Tenth Amendment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected petitioner’s constitutional challenge and her additional argument that 18 U.S.C.S. § 229 did not reach her conduct, holding that 18 U.S.C.S. § 229 was necessary and proper to carry into effect the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. Certiorari was granted.




“Yes. In a 7-2 opinion delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court held that “Agent Cantu’s physical manipulation of petitioner’s carry-on bag violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unreasonable searches.” The Court concluded that Bond “possessed a privacy interest in his bag,” and that such an expectation of privacy is reasonable. “Physically invasive inspection is simply more intrusive than purely visual inspection,” Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote for the Court, a bus passenger “does not expect that other passengers or bus employees will, as a matter of course, feel the bag in an exploratory manner.” Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, dissented, seeing no “reasonable expectation” that strangers would not manipulate luggage in a bus.”

Case Information

Citation: 529 US 334 (2000)
Argued: Feb 29, 2000
Decided: Apr 17, 2000
Case Brief: 2000