California v. Rooney Page 23

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Media for California v. Rooney

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

Arthur Lewis:

I submit it's a curtilage case as well.

If we go through the rest of the items in Dunn, it's the nature of the use to which the area is put.

And I submit, household trash, storing it and taking it to the trash man, is that sort of activity.

Then of course this Court pointed out, the steps taken by the resident to protect the area from observations by people passing by.

And I submit that the size of the trash container, where it was, there's nothing in the record to indicate that what he put there was visible without it.

But I would close with this final statement that we find in Dunn.

As Professor Amsterdam has observed, the question is not whether you or I must draw the blinds before we commit a crime.

It is whether you and I must discipline ourselves to draw the blinds everytime we enter a room under pain of surveillance if we do not.

And that's the sort of thing I would hate to see the country come to.

I had a number of other items.

Yes, the closing that I would like to leave you with was the objection by one of the amici to this Court was that if you couldn't decide it on the issue of abandonment and curtilage, that you ought to decide it on the basis of Leon, and that is, that there's a good faith belief on the part of the officer.

And that somewhat struck me as being a last gasp sort of thing.

Because in California, Krivda's been the law for some 15 years.

And why policemen are still going through the trash is somewhat of a mystery.

I would point out to this Court that almost every year, ever since Krivda, we still have policeman taking the trash, getting the trash truck, and going through it.

This argument is fought all the time.

There is obviously not a response to what it is that the courts are saying.

And I'm asking this Court to send another message, that if there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in one's items, that it has got to be respected.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Lewis.

The case is submitted.