Illinois v. Lafayette

LOCATION: Mobile, Alabama

DOCKET NO.: 81-1859
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 462 US 640 (1983)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1983
DECIDED: Jun 20, 1983

Michael A. Ficaro - on behalf of the Petitioner
Peter A. Carusona - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Illinois v. Lafayette

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1983 in Illinois v. Lafayette

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Illinois against Lafayette.

Mr. Ficaro, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Michael A. Ficaro:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

The Fourth Amendment, through the requirement of warrants based upon probable cause, seeks to protect citizens and their effects from governmental intrusions by unreasonable searches and seizures.

But not all searches and seizures without warrant offend the limits imposed by the Fourth Amendment.

We submit that Illinois v. Lafayette is one such case that does not offend the limits of the Fourth Amendment.

We urge this Court to find that the delayed search at the station house of the purse of the Respondent, Ralph Lafayette, after a valid custodial arrest was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

We submit to this Court that this post-arrest warrantless search was permissible both as incidental to arrest and as a valid inventory search.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Now, Mr. Ficaro, you did not make that search incident to an arrest argument below, did you?

Michael A. Ficaro:

Yes, Your Honor, that argument was made in the trial court.

Although in one line of the Appellate Court opinion, the Appellate Court found that it was waived, the Court went on to discuss the issue citing Ross, Belton, Sanders, Chadwick, Edwards, and then in its conclusion in the holding of the case the Court said that we find that this search is not incidental to arrest and thus violates the Fourth Amendment.

So under Jenkins v. Georgia, the Appellate Court of Illinois reached and decided the constitutional issue.

The fact--

John Paul Stevens:

Before it got to the end of its opinion on page 3A of the cert petition it said we find the state has waived this argument for the purposes of appeal by falling to raise it at the suppression hearing.

Don't we have to take that at face value?

Michael A. Ficaro:

--There are three ways that this case is before this Court.

One is on the theory of valid... the inventory search which was not--

John Paul Stevens:

I understand.

This only goes, as Justice O'Connor's question, only to the question of search incident to arrest.

On that they say in so many words you waived that.

Michael A. Ficaro:

--Although they said that under Jenkins v. Georgia, they reached the issue.

The question of waiver, whether or not this is an independent and adequate ground... this is not an independent ground, the issue of waiver.

The Illinois courts follow procedural and substantive laws to find under the Fourth Amendment.

In People v. Clark, in appellate courts, People v. Renke, the courts of Illinois have said that their interpretation of the Fourth Amendment is coextensive with the scope of the federal interpretation by this Court of the Constitution.

William H. Rehnquist:

But that has nothing to do with whether an argument might be waived, does it, the fact that the two constitutions might be coterminous?

Michael A. Ficaro:

The Illinois courts follow the procedural rules, so this Court under the holdings of Steagald which establishes the standard for waiver in Illinois... the Illinois courts in People v. Keller which explicitly says we follow the federal guideline of Steagald for the waiver principles, thereby allows this Court to reach the question of whether or not it was waived.

By a clear examination of the record in this case, the issue was not waived although the Appellate Court in one simple sentence said it was waived.

William H. Rehnquist:

But assuming we ought to take the word of the Illinois Appellate Court in this particular case on these particular facts as to whether something was waived under Illinois law, shouldn't we?

Michael A. Ficaro:

I believe, Your Honor, it is not an independent ground because they use the federal standard of waiver in Steagald, and, therefore, in applying the federal standard in Steagald this issue was not waived because it was raised in a timely fashion.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Without getting into all this Steagald underbrush, didn't your Illinois Appellate Court go on and say and reach the issue anyway--