California v. Acevedo - Oral Argument - January 08, 1991

California v. Acevedo

Media for California v. Acevedo

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 30, 1991 in California v. Acevedo

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 08, 1991 in California v. Acevedo

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument first this morning in No. 89-1690, California v. Charles Steven Acevedo.

Mr. Foster.

Robert Foster:

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

This case is here on the State of California's Petition for Certiorari to the California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division 3.

California contends that the lower appellate court erred when it ordered the illegal drugs found in the trunk of Mr. Acevedo's car suppressed, because the officers had too much probable cause.

That is, they had particularized probable cause as to the paper bag containing the drugs, rather than unparticularized probable cause to the entire vehicle.

The State contends that when Mr. Acevedo voluntarily and intentionally placed the bag into the trunk of the car, it attained the same degree of mobility as the car, and by being in the car, it was subject to the lesser expectation of privacy that surrounds a vehicle and its contents.

What I'd like to do this morning is briefly go through the facts with you, and then explain why we believe this Court's decisions in Carroll, Ross, and Carney should be held to control in this case.

We believe this Court should rule that the decisions in Chadwick and Sanders have been limited by the subsequent decisions of this Court.

The facts are not in any dispute in this case.

Back in 1987 Federal drug agents in Hawaii intercepted a shipment of drugs bound for the mainland, nine bags... nine kilo bags of marijuana.

They contacted the Santa Ana police department, allowed the drugs to proceed to the Federal Express office, and the local police officers arranged a controlled delivery.

They followed the drugs back to Mr. Daza's apartment.

After a few minutes Mr. Daza came out and threw away the outer wrapping material and the inner wrapping material, so it was clear to the officers that he was manipulating the contents, the drugs.

And at that point they did what we want officers to do under those circumstances, they went to get a search warrant.

While the officer was gone... one of the officers was gone getting the search warrant, co-defendant St. Gregory exited, I'm sorry, St. George exited with a knapsack.

The officer stopped him and discovered a pound and half of marijuana in his knapsack.

Shortly thereafter Mr. Acevedo arrived, carrying nothing.

He entered the apartment.

About 10 minutes later he came out carrying a bag, a paper bag.

The bag appeared to be... the bag appeared to be full.

He got in... he walked to his vehicle, placed it in the trunk of his vehicle, and drove off.

The officers had a... had a marked car stop him nearby.

The trunk was opened, the bag was opened, and they found approximately a pound, I'm sorry, a half a pound of marijuana.

Shortly thereafter the search warrant for the apartment arrived.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Foster--

Robert Foster:

Your Honor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

--Would, would those facts as you have described them give rise to probable cause sufficient to have arrested the individual?

Robert Foster:

I believe so, Your Honor.

I believe--