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United States v. Lee - Significance, Search On High Seas Lawful, Was There A High Seas Search?, Impact, Related Cases

vessel petitioner court persons


United States


Lee, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That the Coast Guard's search and seizure of an American vessel on the high seas more that 12 miles from land and the subsequent arrest of persons on the vessel for violations of the Tariff Act and the National Prohibition Act was lawful.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

John G. Sargent, U.S. Attorney General

Chief Lawyer for Respondent


Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis (writing for the Court), Pierce Butler, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Clark McReynolds, Edward Terry Sanford, Harlan Fiske Stone, George Sutherland, William Howard Taft, Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

31 May 1927


The search and seizure of the vessel on the high seas and the arrest of persons on the vessel was lawful because probable cause existed to believe that revenue laws were being violated.

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