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Case Basics
Docket No. 
The Stanford Daily
No. 76-1600
(Argued the cause for the petitioners in the related case, Bergna v. Stanford Daily)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners in Zurcher v. Stanford Daily)
(Argued the cause for the respondent in both cases)
Facts of the Case 

In 1971, officers of the Palo Alto, California, Police Department obtained a warrant to search the main office of The Stanford Daily, the student newspaper at the university. It was believed that The Stanford Daily had pictures of a violent clash between a group of protesters and the police; the pictures were needed to identify the assailants. The officers searched The Daily's photographic laboratories, filing cabinets, desks, and waste paper baskets, but no materials were removed from the office. This case was decided together with Bergna v. Stanford Daily, involving the district attorney and a deputy district attorney who participated in the obtaining of the search warrant.


Did the search of The Daily's newsroom violate the First and Fourth Amendments?

Decision: 5 votes for Zurcher, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

In a 5-to-3 decision, the Court held that the "third party" search of the newsroom did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court held that such searches, accompanied by warrants, were legitimate when it had been "satisfactorily demonstrated to the magistrate that fruits, instrumentalities, or evidence of crime is located on the premises." The Court also found that the Framers of the Constitution "did not forbid warrants where the press was involved."

Cite this Page
ZURCHER v. THE STANFORD DAILY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1484>.
ZURCHER v. THE STANFORD DAILY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1484 (last visited September 1, 2015).
"ZURCHER v. THE STANFORD DAILY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1484.