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United States v. Santana

Charges And Preliminary Trials

Santana and Alejandro were charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and McCafferty was charged with distribution of heroin, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. McCafferty pled guilty to the charges against her, but Santana and Alejandro moved that the heroin and money seized from them in the arrest be suppressed since it had been obtained without benefit of a warrant. The district court upheld the respondents' contention, stating that although probable cause existed to suspect Santana of participating in the drug buy made by McCafferty, one of the police officers involved in the operation testified that its true objective was the arrest of Santana, while another officer testified that the true objective was the recovery of the money planted by Gilletti. If either of these were the true objective of the raid, a warrant would have been required for its execution. The circuit court also found that Santana's retreat into her house did not constitute a flight from the police, and, as such, that the police did not have the right to follow her into the house without possessing a warrant, on the grounds of being in "hot pursuit" of a suspect. The case was then heard by the state court of appeals, which upheld the ruling of the district court in all its parts. The U.S. Attorney General's office then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case, and the Court heard arguments in the matter on 27 April 1976.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980United States v. Santana - Significance, A Drug Bust, Charges And Preliminary Trials, Search And Seizure, Impact