Brown v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Allegheny County District Court

DOCKET NO.: 71-6193
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 411 US 223 (1973)
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1972
DECIDED: Apr 17, 1973

Lowell W. Lundy - for petitioners
Mark L. Evans -

Facts of the case


Media for Brown v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1972 in Brown v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in 71-6193, Brown against The United States.

Mr. Lundy.

Lowell W. Lundy:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case, I think factually, if I may state it briefly, presents a simple question of fact in that, the crime charged in this case involved a situation where two men were arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio with some alleged stolen goods which was to be shipped in interstate commerce, and taken across the Ohio River into Kentucky.

The next day, in Manchester, Kentucky, a City Police Judge in Manchester issued a search warrant for state and local officers to go into a store which belonged to Mr. Knuckles and search for stolen property.

The search warrant was signed in blank by the judge, the affidavit was signed in blank by the judge and the District Court held that the search warrant was not worth the paper that it was written on, and he quashed the search warrant.

However, the officers, I think being unaware of that or whether they were aware or not, they went ahead and searched for two days in this man’s store and --

It was quite a number of (Inaudible) wasn't it?

Lowell W. Lundy:

It’s two big trucks wide.

It went on all day, all Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.

The Court suppressed by motion all the evidence, but only as to the owner of the store.

The court held that the two men who were arrested in Cincinnati did not have standing to suppress the evidence.

The case was tried, and of course all the evidence that were seized in the store was admitted in evidence against the two men who are petitioners in this case.

They were indicted --

Warren E. Burger:

How soon after the arrest -- they were arrested with the trucks and with a lot of this merchandise in their possession?

Lowell W. Lundy:

Yes Your Honor.

Warren E. Burger:

Then how soon after --

Lowell W. Lundy:

I think it was the next day.

Warren E. Burger:

Next day.

Was the warrant obtained as to subsequent to the time they arrested them in possession of the goods?

Lowell W. Lundy:

Yes Your Honor.

After the goods were brought in Cincinnati, word was gotten down to Manchester, Kentucky and all the employees of the store of the merchandising company from which the goods were taken.

He came back to Manchester the next day, as I understand it and he got the warrant from the City Judge.

Now, these men were indicted together with Clinton Knuckles who is also not here.

And the first count charged on them was a conspiracy to move these goods in interstate commerce; charge on the second count was simply transporting goods in interstate commerce.

The third count involved the other defendant who is not here.

Now, the case was appealed in the Sixth Circuit and the Sixth Circuit held, among other things that a harmless error had been committed because the rulings of this Court in Bruton had been violated, and they upheld the District Court’s ruling that these men did not have standing to suppress this evidence.

Now, factually that’s the case that we're concerned with here today.

Now, if I may, I would like to address myself to the question of these men's standing to suppress this evidence first.

Now, the Court will, of course, is aware of the fact, they were indicted on a conspiracy charge.