California v. Greenwood

PETITIONER: California
LOCATION: Billy Greenwood's Residence

DOCKET NO.: 86-684
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 486 US 35 (1988)
ARGUED: Jan 11, 1988
DECIDED: May 16, 1988

Michael Ian Garey - By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the respondents
Michael J. Pear - Argued the cause for the petitioner

Facts of the case

Local police suspected Billy Greenwood was dealing drugs from his residence. Because the police did not have enough evidence for a warrant to search his home, they searched the garbage bags Greenwood had left at the curb for pickup. The police uncovered evidence of drug use, which was then used to obtain a warrant to search the house. That search turned up illegal substances, and Greenwood was arrested on felony charges.


Did the warrantless search and seizure of Greenwood's garbage violate the Fourth Amendment's search and seizure guarantee?

Media for California v. Greenwood

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 11, 1988 in California v. Greenwood

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 16, 1988 in California v. Greenwood

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in two cases No. 86-684, California against Greenwood, No. 87-339, City of New York versus Federal Communications Commission will be announced by Justice White.

Byron R. White:

In California against Greenwood, which is here from the Court of Appeals of California, we reversed the judgment of that court.

We have filed an opinion and explaining why Justice Brennan joined by Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion.

Justice Kennedy took no part in the case.