United States v. Martinez-Fuerte

Facts of the Case

Each of the defendants in cases No. 74-1560 and No. 75-5387, traveling by vehicle from Mexico to the United States, was arrested at a permanent immigration checkpoint operated by the Border Patrol away from the international border with Mexico, and each sought, at his trial on charges of illegal transportation of aliens, to suppress, among other things, the testimony of one or more of these aliens on the ground that the operation of the checkpoint was incompatible with the


Do such stops violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures?


No, because if there is a reasonable collective suspicion, then individuals can be searched in the interest of public safety. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., writing for the 7-to-2 majority, said: The defendants note correctly that to accommodate public and private interests some quantum of individualized suspicion is usually a prerequisite to a constitutional search or seizure…. But the Fourth Amendment imposes no irreducible requirement of such suspicion.Prepared by Michael Brandow.

Case Information

  • Citation: 428 US 543 (1976)
  • Argued: Apr 26, 1976
  • Decided Jul 6, 1976