Facts of the Case
A police officer pulled over Enio Jimeno for a traffic violation after following him due to information that he may have been involved in a drug deal. Jimeno consented to a search of his car, but nothing more. The officer had informed Jimeno that he suspected him of having drugs in the car. The officer opened up a package and found cocaine inside. At trial, Jimeno argued that his consent to search his car did not extend to his permission to search within containers and packages. The lower court and the Florida Supreme Court upheld that Jimeno’s consent did not cover the officer’s efforts and thus ruled in Jimeno’s favor. The State of Florida appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
“Does the Privacy Act’s “actual damages” provision cover mental and emotional distress?”
“Yes. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches. “The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness,” wrote Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in the majority opinion. “We think it was objectively reasonable for the police to conclude that the general consent to search respondent’s car included consent to search containers within that car which might bear drugs. A reasonable person may be expected to know that narcotics are generally carried in some form of a container.””
Citation: 500 US 248 (1991)
Argued: Mar 25, 1991
Decided: May 23, 1991
Case Brief: 1991