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California v. Carney - Is It A Car Or A Home?, It Is A Car, It Is A Home

mobile united court fourth


State of California


Charles R. Carney

Petitioner's Claim

That the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not violated when a police officer conducts a warrantless search of a mobile home.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Louis R. Hanoian

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Thomas F. Homann

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

13 May 1985


The warrantless search of a motor mobile home does not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


The decision established that motor mobile homes may not receive the heightened protection from warrantless police searches to which stationary homes are entitled. Instead, motor mobile homes are more akin to automobiles, which police may search without a warrant and with probable cause.

Related Cases

  • Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 (1925).
  • South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976).
  • United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977).
  • Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980).
  • United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798 (1982).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Bradley, Craig M. "The Court's `Two Model' Approach to the Fourth Amendment: Carpe Diem." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, fall 1993, p. 429.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Nation, May 25, 1985, p. 612.
  • Newsweek, May 27, 1985, p. 89.
California v. Ciraolo - Significance, Unresonable Search And Seizure, The Liability Of Open Airspace, Impact [next] [back] N.J. Building Trades Council v. City of Camden - Significance, Further Readings

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