Government agents obtained an arrest warrant for the defendants. In serving the warrant, the agents entered the defendants’ business premises, falsely claiming they possessed a search warrant. The agents then secured a series of papers through these searches located throughout the business.
Whether the government is reasonable in conducting a search of the premises in which a lawful arrest has occurred?
No. The Court does not recognize a general right of the government to search the premise in which an arrest takes place.
The Court found the government’s search ancillary to the arrests to be “a lawless invasion of the premises and a general exploratory search in the hope that evidence of crime might be found.” This illegal search was not to be confused with one in which officers secured evidence that was “visible and accessible and in the offender’ immediate custody. There was no threat of force or general search or rummaging of the place.”
282 U.S. 344, 51 S. Ct. 153 (1931)