CHIMEL v. CALIFORNIA

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
770
Petitioner 
Chimel
Respondent 
California
Advocates
(By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Location: Chimel's Home
Facts of the Case 

Local police officers went to Chimel's home with a warrant authorizing his arrest for burglary. Upon serving him with the arrest warrant, the officers conducted a comprehensive search of Chimel's residence. The search uncovered a number of items that were later used to convict Chimel. State courts upheld the conviction.

Question 

Was the warrantless search of Chimel's home constitutionally justified under the Fourth Amendment as "incident to that arrest?"

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Chimel, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that the search of Chimel's house was unreasonable under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court reasoned that searches "incident to arrest" are limited to the area within the immediate control of the suspect. While police could reasonably search and seize evidence on or around the arrestee's person, they were prohibited from rummaging through the entire house without a search warrant. The Court emphasized the importance of warrants and probable cause as necessary bulwarks against government abuse.

Cite this Page
CHIMEL v. CALIFORNIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 22 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_770>.
CHIMEL v. CALIFORNIA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_770 (last visited October 22, 2014).
"CHIMEL v. CALIFORNIA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 22, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_770.