Law School Discussion

Warrants (Johnson V. US, 333 US 10)

Warrants (Johnson V. US, 333 US 10)
« on: January 25, 2007, 12:32:55 PM »
Today in Crim Pro we were going over Johnson v. US, 333 US 10, a case that suppressed evidence of opium and related paraphernalia after an officer was able to smell it in the hallway.  Prior to this we had discussed that it would not a search if probable cause was obtained through information that was available to the public (the smell of burning opium in the hallway, in this instance).  My understanding is that the evidence was suppressed because of the manner in which the cops entered the hotel room (essentially demanding entrance, instead of asking for permission) and because the other evidence would still be accessible.  Is this correct?  Or am I missing some reason why the officer would have needed a warrant in this instance?

That seemed to be the gist of what we were talking about in class and what I got from the case.  I thought that I might have missed something for one reason or another.  Thanks for any help.

Re: Warrants (Johnson V. US, 333 US 10)
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 05:11:01 PM »
the general rule is that you need probable cause + a warrant; absent those a search is presumptively unreasonable. however, there are numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement (ex: search incident to arrest; stop and frisk, etc.).

this was *clearly* a search. the cops went into the guy's hotel room. surely the guy has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the hotel room. (note - smelling the opium wasn't a search, but the entry into room was.) since this doesn't fall into any of the exceptions to the warrant requirement, the evidence must be suppressed.


Re: Warrants (Johnson V. US, 333 US 10)
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2007, 08:15:49 PM »
from my understanding of criminal law there is more than just that, a dwelling will have a greater expectation of privacy than a vehicle or a person in public in many states. Exigent circumstances, like immediate dangers to others, destruction of evidence (sometime),fresh pursuit into the dwelling can allow police to enter without a warrant or consent, but the general rule will apply that the P.C. can get you the warrant, but you'll need that to enter. Also the issue of possible consent will be a factor as well, who can consent to a search in a hotel room, the owner, the manager, another guest. The fourth amendment is the bread of butter of a lot of criminal defense attorneys.

Re: Warrants (Johnson V. US, 333 US 10)
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2007, 11:10:10 AM »
Yes, they needed to ask for consent unless they can show that the evidence might have been destroyed had they not entered the room at that time.