Jones v. United States

PETITIONER: Jones
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Wolverine Tube, Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 331
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 357 US 493 (1958)
ARGUED: Apr 07, 1958 / Apr 08, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 30, 1958

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Jones v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 08, 1958 in Jones v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 07, 1958 in Jones v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 331, Roy Jones versus United States of America.

Mr. Asinof.

Wesley R. Asinof:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

The question involved in this case is on the question of the validity of a search of a private dwelling house and the seizure of contraband articles without a search warrant, the search having been made during the night season and based upon probable cause in a case wherein the federal agents had ample opportunity to procure a valid search warrant.

The case arose in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and from the facts found by the trial judge after hearing a motion to suppress the evidence in the case of certain articles that were found inside the house.

The trial judge found that there was ample opportunity to procure a search warrant, there being five officers in approximately two doors.

The evidence disclosed before the trial judge that the agents of the Government had had the dwelling house under observation for approximately three days, that they had probable cause for believing that a -- an illicit distillery was in operation inside the house.

Without going into the question of the facts that gave them -- that gave rise to the probable cause, we will concede and it concede in the trial court and in the Court of Appeals that there was probable cause.

On the afternoon of --

Felix Frankfurter:

Probable cause for -- for what?

Wesley R. Asinof:

For the procuring of a warrant.

Felix Frankfurter:

For -- to have gotten a warrant.

Wesley R. Asinof:

Yes, yes, sir.

During the afternoon that the --

Felix Frankfurter:

And -- and I think the detail and fact are essential, it seems to me, in this time of the case.

Is the -- the probable cause derived on your concession and your present statement on the basis of what they'd observed over what period of time?

Wesley R. Asinof:

Over a period of three days.

Felix Frankfurter:

Well, when did -- when did the situation develop that lead you to say at that point they could have got a search warrant?

When was it?

Wesley R. Asinof:

Well --

Felix Frankfurter:

Did you say the second day or third day?

Wesley R. Asinof:

I would have to answer it in this way, if Your Honor please.

On the afternoon of the -- on the afternoon when the actual search was made --

Felix Frankfurter:

But -- but out of (Voice Overlap) --

Wesley R. Asinof:

-- the search was made at 9:15 but during the afternoon about 1 o' clock --

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible) at night?

Wesley R. Asinof:

Yes, sir.

About 1 o'clock in the afternoon, the agents went to Gainesville, some distance of just a few miles, and procured a daytime search warrant, a daylight search warrant based on the information or the probable cause that they had.

The Commission had issued a warrant to the agents to execute a search warrant during the daylight hours.

They then --