Weeks v. United States Case Brief

Facts of the case

Police entered the home of Fremont Weeks and seized papers which were used to convict him of transporting lottery tickets through the mail. This was done without a search warrant. Weeks took action against the police and petitioned for the return of his private possessions.

CONCLUSION

The Supreme Court of the United States held that: 1) the letters in question were taken from Weeks’ house by an official of the United States acting under color of his office in direct violation of the constitutional rights of Weeks 2) having made a seasonable application for their return, which was heard and passed upon by the court, there was involved in the order refusing the application a denial of the constitutional rights of Weeks and 3) the district court should have restored the letters to Weeks. In holding the private correspondence and permitting their use at trial, prejudicial error was committed. The police did not act under any claim of federal authority such as would make the Fourth Amendment applicable to such unauthorized seizure as they acted before the finding of an indictment in the federal court. The Court did not inquire as to what remedies were available to Weeks, as the Fourth Amendment was not directed to individual misconduct of such officials. Its limitations reached only the federal government and its agencies.

  • Advocates: Martin J. O’Donnell for Weeks John W. Davis Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States Winfred T. Denison Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the United States
  • Petitioner: Fremont Weeks
  • Respondent: United States
  • DECIDED BY:White Court
  • Location: –
Citation: 232 US 383 (1914)
Argued: Dec 2 – 3, 1913
Decided: Feb 24, 1914
Weeks v. United States Case Brief