Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
(Reargued the cause for the petitioner)
(Reargued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause on reargument for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
Facts of the Case 

The Bloomingdale, Illinois Police Department received an anonymous tip that Lance and Susan Gates were selling drugs out of their home. After observing the Gates's drug smuggling operation in action, police obtained a warrant and upon searching the suspects' car and home uncovered large quantities of marijuana, other contraband, and weapons.


Did the search of the Gates's home violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Decision: 6 votes for Illinois, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

The Court found no constitutional violation and argued that the lower court misapplied the test for probable cause which the Court had announced in Spinelli v. United States (1969). Justice Rehnquist argued that an informant's veracity, reliability, and basis of knowledge are important in determining probable cause, but that those issues are intertwined and should not be rigidly applied. He argued that the "totality-of-the-circumstances" approach to probable cause was the correct one to glean from Spinelli, and that the law enforcement officials who obtained a warrant abided by it in this case.

Cite this Page
ILLINOIS v. GATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 28 August 2015. <>.
ILLINOIS v. GATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 28, 2015).
"ILLINOIS v. GATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 28, 2015,