Chimel v. California

RESPONDENT: California
LOCATION: Chimel's Home

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)

CITATION: 395 US 752 (1969)
ARGUED: Mar 27, 1969
DECIDED: Jun 23, 1969

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.


Was the warrantless search of Chimel's home constitutionally justified under the Fourth Amendment as "incident to that arrest?"

Media for Chimel v. California

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1969 in Chimel v. California

Earl Warren:

Number 770, Ted Steven Chimel, petitioner versus California.

Mr. Monroe.

Keith C. Monroe:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

The Court considers today a case which, I believe goes to the very core of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The facts of the case, in February 1965, there was a burglary of the Pulati home in Santa Ana, California.

Number of coins were taken, some metals and tokens, containers and so forth.

Potter Stewart:

This wasn't currency.

These were rare coins or --

Keith C. Monroe:

Rare coins.

Potter Stewart:

Collector's items.

Keith C. Monroe:

Collector's items, Your Honor, yes.

Thereafter, in August of 1965, there was a burglary of a coin shop, the Money Vault.

This took place in Orange, California nearby.

Without going into a great deal of detail, there was suspicion of the petitioner as to the Pulati burglary but I think it was pretty much agreed and appears in the record, that way, that there was no probable cause on which his arrest could have been founded.

Potter Stewart:

He was a fellow member of a collector's club with the Pulati's, was he?

Keith C. Monroe:

That's correct, Your Honor.

Potter Stewart:

And he missed a meeting one night and that's the night at the Pulati's house was burglarized?

Keith C. Monroe:

That's correct, Your Honor.

Also prior to that time, he had talked to them about insurance whether or not the coins were insured.

He knew, of course, as a fellow member of coin clubs that they were coin collectors and that they did have coins in their home.

As to the Money Vault burglary, the petitioner made a statement before the burglary to a neighbor that he had a big deal cooking that night and that he was going to knock over.

I don't know whether he said coin shop exactly.

He was going to knock over a place, anyhow.

Thereafter, to the same neighbor he made a statement the day following the burglary that an attempt had been made to enter, which had been unsuccessful.

And some two weeks later he made another statement to another coin shop operator that he had been involved in the Money Vault matter.

Now, then, this was about the middle of August.

On August 25th, the California Supreme Court found that petitioner was arrested without a warrant, on the street, in Santa Ana, California, by the investigating officer here, Officer Del Coma.

After transportation to the Orange Police Station and some interrogation, petitioner was released.

Then on September 13th, something more than two weeks later, Officer Del Coma went to the appropriate magistrate and submitted a complaint in purely conclusionary form.

The complaint is set out in the petitioner's brief.