- Coolidge v. New Hampshire
Coolidge v. New Hampshire
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued January 12, 1971
Decided June 21, 1971
Full case name Coolidge v. New Hampshire Prior history Certiorari to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire Holding The warrant for the search and seizure of petitioner's automobile did not satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, because it was not issued by a "neutral and detached magistrate." Court membershipChief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Case opinions Majority Stewart, joined by Burger, Harlan, Douglas, Brennan, Marshall Concurrence Harlan Concur/dissent Burger Concur/dissent Black, joined by Burger, Blackmun Concur/dissent White, joined by Burger
Coolidge v. New Hampshire, Fourth Amendment and the automobile exception.was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with the
The state sought to justify the search of Edward Coolidge's car on three theories: automobile exception, search incident, and plain view.
Facts of the Case: In the wake of a "particularly brutal" murder of a fourteen-year-old girl, the New Hampshire Attorney General took charge of police activities relating to the murder. When the police applied for a warrant to search suspect Coolidge's automobile, the Attorney General, acting as a justice of the peace, authorized it. Additionally, local police had taken items from Coolidge's home during the course of an interview with the suspect's wife. Coolidge was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In a decision in which a number of justices chose to concur in part and dissent in part, the Court held that the searches and seizures of Coolidge's property were unconstitutional. Justice Stewart's opinion held that the warrant authorizing the seizure of Coolidge's automobile was invalid because it was not issued by a "neutral and detached magistrate." Stewart also rejected New Hampshire's arguments in favor of making an exception to the warrant requirement. Stewart held that neither the "incident to arrest" doctrine nor the "plain view" doctrine justified the search, and that an "automobile exception" was inapplicable.
- Wright, Charles Alan (1971), "Must the Criminal Go Free If the Constable Blunders", Texas Law Review 50 (4): 736–745 .
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