Did the government act of bounds when it opened Ms. Lacey Lee Koenigs' Federal Express package? This seems to be the crux of the matter when Koenig sued for the suppression of the evidence in her case, the package containing the white powdery substance later detemined by the Drug Enforcement Administration to be cocaine (856 F. 2d 843). Koenig and her buyer, Lee Graf, were indicted by a grand jury for the narcotics (856 F. 2d 843). Koenig along with Graf, moved for the suppression of the evidence, saying the evidence was acquired through an illegal search (856 F.
2d 843). Was Koenig, and later on Graf, correct in saying the evidence must be thrown out because of the process by which it was obtained? Was there a violation of the rights of the defendants? To find an answer, let us delve into some historical background on the right itself. The Founding Fathers, when the Constitution was being crafted, sought to address the eventuality of misinterpreting of these powers, they made a Bill of Rights for the proper application of the law (Harry Browne, 2003).
Among these rights is the right to refuse conduct of any government search and seizure proceedings on your property without due process of law (Browne, 2003). But in the constitution the term “privacy”is not specifically spelled out (Browne, 2003). But does that mean that if a word is missing, the state can overlook this omission? Not so, for the Constitution still affords that right in the Constitution, as laid down in the 10th Amendment (Browne, 2003).
Graf fails to prove that he was the owner, sender or recipient of the package, hence could not avail of the protection afforded by the right(856 F. 2d 843). Koenig, on the other hand, contended that the government had to have a valid warrant to effect the search of her package (856 F. 2d 843), that the opening had violated the privacy of her package, hence her right to privacy (856 F. 2d 843). But Federal Express opened the package not under the control of the Federal government, thus extinuguishing the act of intervention by the government.
Once opened, in full unhindred view of DEA agents, the interest of privacy was totally set aside, hence the evidence could be received into evidence for the courts' appreciation and use (856 F. 2d 843).
Browne, H. (2003). Does the Constitution contain a right to privacy? May 9, 2003. Retrieved July 15, 2008, from http://www. harrybrowne. org/articles/PrivacyRight. htm United States vs. Lacey Lee Koenig and Lee Graf. 856 F. 2d 843. (1987). http://bulk. resource. org/courts. gov/c/F2/856/856. F2d. 843. 87-1598. 87-1474. html