UNITED STATES v. PLACE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
81-1617
Petitioner 
United States
Respondent 
Raymond J. Place
Advocates
(on behalf of the Respondent)
(on behalf of the Petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

(Tom Feledy prepared this summary.)

A traveler at an airport alerted the suspicions of drug agents, who, based upon his behavior and discrepancies in his luggage tags, believed he was carrying narcotics. They relayed this information to fellow agents at his destination airport. There, the agents met him and seized his bags without his consent. Ninety minutes after the seizure, his bags were subjected to a "sniff" test by a drug-detection dog. The dog signaled the presence of a controlled substance in one of the bags. The agents then obtained a warrant for that suitcase, which turned out to contain cocaine, and the man was convicted of the drug offense. The Court of Appeals reversed his conviction on the ground that the ninety minutes exceeded the investigative stop permitted by _Terry v. Ohio

, and thus violated the Fourth Amendment's search and seizure privilege.

Question 

Was the ninety minute seizure of the traveler's luggage a valid investigative stop under Terry? Did the "sniff test" by the dog constitute a search?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Place, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

No and no. Seizures pursuant to investigative detentions are lawful only if they are limited in scope, as described in Terry, and evidence resulting from such unlawful seizures must be suppressed. The "sniff" of a properly trained narcotics detection dog does not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

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UNITED STATES v. PLACE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 14 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1982/1982_81_1617/>.
UNITED STATES v. PLACE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1982/1982_81_1617/ (last visited September 14, 2014).
"UNITED STATES v. PLACE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 14, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1982/1982_81_1617/.