United States v. Rabinowitz

Facts of the Case

A printer who possessed plates for forging overprints on canceled stamps was taken into custody. He disclosed that defendant Rabinowitz, a stamp dealer, was one of his customers who purchased large amounts of forged stamps. A warrant for Rabinowitz’s arrest was obtained, but no search warrant was obtained. Rabinowitz was arrested. His one-room office was searched and forged stamps were seized. Rabinowitz was convicted in federal district court of altering obligations of the United States. The appellate court reversed the conviction, ruling that the officers should have procured a search warrant before searching Rabinowitz’s office.


Did the search violate the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement?


The Fourth Amendment permits a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. The search may be of the person arrested and of the premises where the arrest occurs.

Case Information

  • Citation: 339 US 56 (1950)
  • Argued: Jan 11, 1950
  • Decided Feb 20, 1950