Chimel v. California Case Brief

Facts of the case

Local police officers went to Chimel’s home with a warrant authorizing his arrest for burglary. Upon serving him with the arrest warrant, the officers conducted a comprehensive search of Chimel’s residence. The search uncovered a number of items that were later used to convict Chimel. State courts upheld the conviction.

Why is the case important?

The defendant, Chimel (the “defendant”), was arrested inside his home and police asked him for consent to search the home. The defendant refused the request. The police proceeded nonetheless, incident to the lawful arrest and searched in different rooms. The police also had the defendant’s wife open various dresser drawers and remove their contents.


Where a defendant is lawfully arrested inside his home, is a warrantless search of the area beyond the defendant’s immediate control constitutional?


Any search in an arrestee’s home beyond arrestee’s person and the area within his immediate control is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.


The court held that the search was unreasonable.It found that there was no justification for searching any room other than that in which the arrest occurred. Even searching through desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas of the room where the arrest occurred was not appropriate. Extending the search to the entire house was not proper, and the court overturned the conviction.

  • Advocates: –
  • Petitioner: Chimel
  • Respondent: California
  • DECIDED BY:Burger Court
  • Location: Chimel’s Home
Citation: 395 US 752 (1969)
Argued: Mar 27, 1969
Decided: Jun 23, 1969
Chimel v. California Case Brief