Flippo v. West Virginia

RESPONDENT:West Virginia
LOCATION:Florida State University

DOCKET NO.: 98-8770
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)

CITATION: 528 US 11 (1999)
DECIDED: Oct 18, 1999

Facts of the case

In 1996, James Michael Flippo called 911 to report that he and his wife had been attacked while camping in a West Virginia state park. Inside Flippo’s cabin, officer’s found his wife, with fatal head wounds. During their search, officers found and opened a closed briefcase, in which they discovered various photographs and negatives that allegedly incriminated Flippo. After he was indicted for murder, Flippo moved to suppress the photographs and negatives on the grounds that the police had obtained no warrant, and that no exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment had justified the search and seizure. The Circuit Court denied the motion to suppress on the ground that the officers, having secured the homicide crime scene for investigative purposes, had been within the law to conduct a thorough investigation and examination of anything and everything found within the crime scene area. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia denied discretionary review.


Does the judgment of a West Virginia Circuit Court, which denied a motion to suppress evidence on the ground that the police were entitled to make a thorough search of any crime scene and the objects found there, conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mincey v. Arizona?