California v. Rooney

PETITIONER: California
RESPONDENT: Rooney
LOCATION: Action Iron and Metal Company

DOCKET NO.: 85-1835
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 483 US 307 (1987)
ARGUED: Mar 25, 1987
DECIDED: Jun 23, 1987

ADVOCATES:
Arnold T. Guminski - on behalf of the Petitioner
Arthur Lewis - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for California v. Rooney

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1987 in California v. Rooney

William H. Rehnquist:

We will hear arguments next in No. 85-1835, California against Peter Rooney.

Mr. Guminski, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Arnold T. Guminski:

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

This case is here on certiorari to the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District.

It involves the following salient facts.

On December 15th, 1983, Los Angeles police officers Shorb and Wyeth, suspecting that Rooney was conducting bookmaking operations at his West Hollywood apartment, went to the apartment building in question.

They entered the subterranean garage of that apartment building and approached a communal metal trash can for the apartment building, which was 8 feet long, 5 feet tall, and 4 feet wide.

Yes, Your Honor.

Thurgood Marshall:

xxx unclear in the record in this case.

What is "subterranean"?

Arnold T. Guminski:

It would be underneath the apartments themselves.

Thurgood Marshall:

You mean basement?

Arnold T. Guminski:

Pardon me?

Thurgood Marshall:

You mean basement?

Arnold T. Guminski:

Basement, yes, Your Honor.

Thurgood Marshall:

Well, why do you need subterranean?

Who owned this trash receptacle?

Arnold T. Guminski:

I do not know who is the specific owner of the trash receptacle.

It was not expressly disclosed in the record.

However--

Thurgood Marshall:

Well, couldn't you have found out?

Couldn't the police department have found out?

Arnold T. Guminski:

--It is possible that they could have found out, yes, Your Honor.

Thurgood Marshall:

And let us know.

Arnold T. Guminski:

It does not... that fact is not disclosed in the record.

I should like to point out, however, that the question as to who technically was the owner of this apartment building and the garage, as we shall see, is not really a critical issue, if I may continue.

The officers went to the trash bin and proceeded to search it... I use the term in its popular sense.

And halfway down they located a brown paper shopping bag which they removed.

It contain mail addressed to Mr. Rooney and evidences of bookmaking operations.

The question posed is whether Mr. Rooney's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by this examination of the contents of this trash bag.