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Coolidge v. New Hampshire

The Investigation Of A "particularly Brutal Murder" And The Trial That Followed, The Improper Use Of A Warrant


Edward H. Coolidge, Jr.


State of New Hampshire

Petitioner's Claim

The petitioner stated that the warrant authorizing the seizure and subsequent search of his automobile should be considered invalid on the ground that it was a violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Archibald Cox

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Alexander Kalinski

Justices for the Court

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 June 1971


The Court determined that the searches and seizures of Coolidge's property were unconstitutional.


Coolidge v. New Hampshire opened a debate concerning the proper use of a warrant for search and seizure, as well as what actually constituted "plain view" evidence and the proper means of obtaining evidence that is incident to an arrest.

Related Cases

  • Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20 (1925).
  • Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192 (1927).
  • Trupiano v. United States, 334 U.S. 699 (1948).
  • Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23 (1963).
  • Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).
  • Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969).
  • Arizona v. Hicks, (1987).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972