Texas v. Brown

LOCATION:Briarcrest Christian Academy

DOCKET NO.: 81-419
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

CITATION: 460 US 730 (1983)
ARGUED: Jan 12, 1983
DECIDED: Apr 19, 1983

Allan K. Butcher – on behalf of the Respondent
C. Chris Marshall – on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Texas v. Brown

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 12, 1983 in Texas v. Brown

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 19, 1983 in Texas v. Brown

Warren E. Burger:

Justice Rehnquist has the judgments and opinions in several cases to announce.

William H. Rehnquist:

The first is Texas against Brown, a case which began in a Texas state court when a police officer stopped a passing car and asked the driver for his driver’s license.

While the driver Brown was looking for the license, the police officer involves saw him drop a small green party balloon, knotted near the tip under the front seat.

The officer could also see the car’s glove compartment containing assortment of vials, and loose white powder.

The officer concluded that Brown was probably carrying drugs and seized the balloon.

The chemical test of the balloon later showed that it contained heroin and Brown was charged with state law drug violation.

The Texas courts however, held the balloon had been seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment to United States Constitution.

And that it could not be used as evidence against Brown.

Today we reverse that decision with all nine members of the Court deciding that the plain-view doctrine permitted seizure of the balloon in this case.

The line up is as follows:I have filed an opinion joined by the Chief Justice, Justice White, and Justice O’Connor.

Justice White has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Powell joined by Justice Blackmun has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Justice Stevens joined by Justices Brennan and Marshall has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.