Chimel VS. California example

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Chimel VS. California

Parties to the case

The parties to the case were Chimel as the defendant and state of California as the plaintiff ('Chimel v. California Case Brief', 2015).

Facts of the case

Police officers who were armed with an arrest warrant were admitted to the home of the defendant by his wife to wait for the petitioner’s arrival. When Chimel finally got home, he was issued the warrant by the officers, and they requested to look around the house. Although he refused, the police officers went ahead and searched the whole house on the basis that the arrest was lawful. The officers in all the places including the attic and garage and they asked Chimel’s wife to open the drawers in two rooms, where they found the evidence that was used to convicted him. The seized evidence included coins and medals. At his trial on charges of burglary, items taken from his home during the search were admitted as evidence over his objection that they had been obtained unconstitutionally (Justia Law, 2015).

Prior Proceedings

The lower courts had found the petitioner guilty on two incidents of burglary. The appellate courts in California affirmed the decision of the district court, a decision to which Chimel objected, and he was granted certiorari by the Supreme Court thus leading to this appeal (Findlaw, 2015).

Questions of the Law presented to the CourtGiven the house of the defendant was searched without a search warrant, the question of the law presented was whether the search of someone’s house without a search warrant when against the 4th amendment when the person was to be arrested lawfully with an arrest warrant (Lawschoolcasebriefs.net, 2012).

Objective of the Parties

The defendant argued that the evidence that was used against him in the trial was acquired unlawfully as the three police officers had conducted a search of his property without his consent.On other hand, the lower courts argued that the search of the house was justified even without a search warrant on the ground that the search was an incident to a justified arrest. The arrest was legal as they had obtained the warrant in good faith and in any event they had enough information that provides probable cause ('Chimel v. California Case Brief', 2015).

Rule of the Law

It was held that assuming the arrest was legitimate, the searching of the house without a warrant cannot be justified by the Constitution as an incident relating to the arrest.

Rationale for deciding the case

The Supreme Court based their judgement the fact that the arresting officer may search the person being arrested to remove weapons and to obtain evidence to prevent them from being distracted or hidden and is only allowed to search the immediate area occupied by the accused person, not the whole house in this case as the dictates a search warrant. Also, the extent of the search by the officers was unreasonable under the 4th amendment …

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