DOCKET NO.: 95-1691
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
CITATION: 518 US 938 (1996)
DECIDED: Jul 01, 1996
Facts of the case
This is the consolidation of two cases involving the search and seizure of illicit drugs in automobiles. In Pennsylvania v. Labron 95-1691, the police observed Edwin Labron participating in a number of drug transactions out of his car on a street in Philadelphia. Without a warrant, but with probable cause, the police then found cocaine when they searched the trunk of Labron’s car. Ultimately, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held the search unconstitutional, finding that the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement required both the existence of probable cause and the presence of exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless search. In Pennsylvania v. Kilgore 95-1738, a search of Randy Kilgore’s truck during a drug raid on his home turned up cocaine. Again, the police did not obtain a warrant, but probable cause existed. Again the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suppressed the evidence seized, holding that Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain a warrant before searching an automobile unless exigent circumstances are present.
Does the Fourth Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth, require police to obtain a warrant before searching an automobile unless exigent circumstances are present?