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California v. Acevedo

Significance, A Uniform Rule For Vehicle Searches, Dissent Finds Warrantless Search Unacceptable, Impact, Kids, Drugs, And Crime


State of California


Charles Steven Acevedo

Petitioner's Claim

That police may search a container seized from an automobile where there is probable cause to believe that the container holds evidence or an illegal substance.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert M. Foster

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Frederick Westcott Anderson

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun (writing for the Court), Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter

Justices Dissenting

Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

30 May 1991


Marijuana seized from defendant's car could be admitted into evidence at defendant's trial on drug charges. Reversed lower court decision barring admission of marijuana because police had not procured search warrant.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977).
  • Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753 (1979).
  • United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798 (1982).
  • United States v. Cook, 938 F.2d 149 (9th Cir. 1991).
  • United States v. Corral, 970 F.2d 719 (10th Cir. 1992).


Morgan, Kathleen O'Leary, et al., eds. Crime State Rankings. Lawrence, KS: Morgan Quitno, 1994.

Further Readings

  • Bernheim, David. Defense of Narcotics Cases. New York: Matthew Bender, 1997.
  • 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.

Additional topics

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