Drope v. Missouri Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Petitioner was indicted for the forcible rape of his wife. Defense counsel filed a motion for a continuance in order that petitioner might be examined and receive psychiatric treatment. Respondent assistant circuit attorney did not oppose the motion for a psychiatric examination. No action was taken on the motion and the case proceeded to trial. During the course of the trial, petitioner shot himself in the stomach and did not appear at court. The state trial court proceeded without petitioner and a jury returned a verdict of guilty. Subsequently, the appellate court rejected petitioner’s claim that he was denied due process of law by the conduct of his criminal trial in his absence and by the failure of the trial court to order a psychiatric examination. Upon writ of certiorari, the court reversed the appellate court decision and remanded the case to allow the state to retry petitioner if he was found competent to stand trial.


Does a law enforcement officer’s physical manipulation of a bus passenger’s carry-on luggage violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches?



Case Information

Citation: 420 US 162 (1975)
Argued: Nov 13, 1974
Decided: Feb 19, 1975
Case Brief: 1975