Chapman v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Eagle Coffee Shoppe

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 365 US 610 (1961)
ARGUED: Feb 23, 1961
DECIDED: Apr 03, 1961

Facts of the case


Media for Chapman v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 23, 1961 (Part 1) in Chapman v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 23, 1961 (Part 2) in Chapman v. United States

Earl Warren:

-- continue your argument.

J. Sewell Elliott:

Thank you, sir.

May it please the Court.

I had practically completed my reference to the statement of facts before lunch.

There is one other point that I would like to mention and that is that the United States has concluded that this was an oral rental agreement.

I do not feel that this is supported by the evidence and by the record in this case.

I refer the Court to page 75 of the record there at the -- down in the second answer, the lengthy answer there, "And I fixed him up, agreed to rent it to him and fixed him up a standard 30-day rental contract for the rent and erred."

I don't believe the evidence supports that it's an oral, although I do not know that that is too significant in this case.

Charles E. Whittaker:

Well, does it make any difference?

J. Sewell Elliott:

I don't think it does, Your Honor.

Now, since the decision of the Fifth Circuit in this case, this Court in the Elkins case, overruled the so-called "silver platter doctrine" by holding that evidence obtained by state officers which would have violated the constitutional rights of an individual, if it had been obtained by the federal officers, is not admissible in the federal court.

So I think this would dispose of the -- any question that might come by the fact that a state agent first entered this house and that the federal agents were immediately called into the case, the silver platter doctrine question is disposed of.

Potter Stewart:

The Court of Appeals didn't rely on this silver platter doctrine at all, did it?

J. Sewell Elliott:

No, the Court of Appeals stated in their opinion that they were not relying upon it.

That is correct.

Although the United States never questioned specifically the standing of petitioner as a lessee of these premises, the trial court did hunt as such.

However, we feel that this question has been put at rest by the recent decision of this Court in Jones from District of Columbia.

There are two recent cases, Jones cases that I will refer to.

One originated in Georgia and one in the District of Columbia and I will refer to them as such.

I make reference now to the Jones case from the District of Columbia.

In other words, in the Jones case from the District of Columbia, if anyone is legally upon the premises, then he has a standing to assert his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.

In view of these two recent decisions of this Court, this leaves only one question open to the Court at this time and that is, was this search and seizure reasonable under these circumstances?

Now, I would like to mention some general principles before proceeding further.

First, a search and seizure cannot be separated as intimated by the United States in their brief.

They cannot be considered as two separate things.

They must be considered together, the search and the seizure.

You cannot say that one part is the search and the other part is the seizure.

That has been very clearly set forth in the decisions of this Court.

This Court has also held that a search warrant is necessary in all instances.

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you mind stating again what you've said it -- would you mind stating again what you said it's been clearly held that you must scramble search and seizure and you can't separate it?