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United States v. Robinson

Significance, A Traditional Exception To The Warrant Requirement, A Long Tradition Of Case-by-case Adjudication


United States


Willie Robinson

Petitioner's Claim

That a conviction for a drug offense should not have been overturned on the ground that the search during which the drugs were discovered violated the suspect's Fourth Amendment rights.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Allan A. Tuttle

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Joseph V. Gartlan, Jr.

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting

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


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

11 December 1973


Reversed the court of appeals decision and held that a search incident to a lawful arrest is not limited to a frisk of the outer clothing for the removal of weapons.

Related Cases

  • Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914).
  • Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 1320 (1925).
  • Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).
  • Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969).
  • Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 128 (1978).
  • Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Cushman, Robert F. Leading Constitutional Decisions. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982.
  • Witt, Elder, ed. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1979.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980