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Mancusi v. DeForte


The defendant, a vice president of a union, objected to the government’s use of a subpoena to seek union records. When the union refused to honor the subpoena, the government conducted a search and seized records from an office the defendant shared with other union officials. The seized records were used at trial against the defendant.


Whether the defendant has standing to object to the search for union records?


Yes. The capacity to claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment depends upon whether the area searched was one in which the defendant has a reasonable expectation of freedom from governmental intrusion.


The Court observed the papers in question belonged to the union, not the defendant. However, “one with a possessory interest in the premises might have standing.” As the defendant “shared an office with other union officers” he could “reasonably have expected that only those persons and their personal or business guests would enter the office, and that records would not be touched except with their permission or that of union higher-ups.” Therefore, he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the office, and standing to object to the search.


392 U.S. 364, 88 S. Ct. 2120 (1968)

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