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Horton v. California

Significance, Background Laws And Decisions, The Crime And The Evidence, The Case Of Terry Horton


Terry Brice Horton


State of California

Petitioner's Claim

That the court must suppress the evidence Sergeant LaRault discovered in plain view while conducting a lawful search, because his search warrant did not mention these items and because LaRault did not find them inadvertently.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Juliana Drous

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Martin S. Kaye

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens (writing for the Court), Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 June 1990


Found that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit seizure of belongings not specifically listed in a warrant found in plain sight during a legal search for other items, even though the discovery was not inadvertent, as Coolidge v. New Hampshire (1971) mandated.

Related Cases

  • Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914).
  • Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).
  • Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443 (1971).
  • Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321 (1987).

Further Readings

  • MacIntosh, Susanne M. "Fourth Amendment--The Plain Touch Exception to the Warrant Requirement." Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, winter-spring 1994, p. 743.
  • "Review and Outlook: Common Sense, Uncommon Source." Wall Street Journal, June 5, 1990, p. A24.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994