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Schneckloth v. Bustamonte - Significance, Impact

court consent search william


Merle R. Schneckloth, Superintendent, California Conservation Center


Robert Clyde Bustamonte

Petitioner's Claim

The appeals court erred when it held that the state had to prove that the person who gave consent to the police for a search had knowledge of the right to refuse consent.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert R. Granucci

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Stuart P. Tobisman

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court), Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

29 May 1973


When the state seeks to justify a warrantless police search based on a person's consent, it need not prove that the person knew that the request to search could be refused.

Related Cases

  • Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
  • Kaufman v. United States, 394 U.S. 217 (1969).
  • Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976).

Further Readings

  • Yanofsky, Carole J. "Withrow v. Williams: The Supreme Court's Surprising Refusal to Stone Miranda." American University Law Review, October 1994.
  • Barrio, Adrian J. "Rethinking Schneckloth v. Bustamonte: Incorporating Obedience Theory Into the Supreme Court's Conception of Voluntary Consent." University of Illinois Law Review, 1997.
Scott v. Illinois - Significance, An Open-and-shut Case?, Legal Precedents, Interpreting Argersinger, Impact [next] [back] Schlesinger v. Holtzman - Significance, A Unique Series Of Events, The Court Defers Action Again, Impact

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