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Carroll v. United States

What Becomes Of The Fourth And Fifth Amendments?

Justice McReynolds wrote the dissent. As McReynolds saw the case, George Carroll and John Kiro "while quietly driving an ordinary automobile along a much frequented public road . . . were arrested by federal officers without a warrant and upon mere suspicion--ill-founded, as I think."

Justice McReynolds noted that the Volstead Act indicates that probable cause is not always enough to justify a seizure and that suspicion that the law is being violated does not justify an arrest. Noting that the Fourth Amendment denounces only unreasonable seizures, McReynolds felt that unreasonableness often depends upon the means adopted. In this case, the seizure followed an unlawful arrest and therefore became unlawful. "The validity of the seizure under consideration depends on the legality of the arrest . . . If an officer, upon mere suspicion of a misdemeanor, may stop one on the public highway, take articles away from him and thereafter use them as evidence to convict him of crime, what becomes of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments?" McReynolds summed up his dissent by stating that the arrest of George Carroll and John Kiro was unauthorized, illegal, and violated the due process guarantee of the Fifth Amendment. The liquor taken as evidence was obtained in a search that followed the arrest and was therefore obtained in violation of the men's constitutional rights.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Carroll v. United States - Significance, Warrantless Automobile Searches Valid, What Becomes Of The Fourth And Fifth Amendments?, Impact