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The Rise and Fall of Boyd v. United States

Entick v. Carrington and Three Other King’s Messengers, 19 Howell’s State Trials, 1029 (1765)*: F Entick brings an action for trespass against the king’s men. They entered his home, searched everything (general warrants), and read his private papers (sanctity of a man’s paper). The Secretary of State claimed there was no trespass because they had a warrant. H The Court held that the Secretary of State was liable for trespass because he did not have the power to issue warrants, under British Law. Any invasion of property is actionable in trespass unless there is a law excusing the invasion. Any trespass unto another person’s property must be justified by law through an official warrant handed down by a justice of the peace.

Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886)*: F Several cases of plate glass were confiscated from the defendants by federal customs agents due to suspicion that certain documents had been falsified for the purposes of avoiding customs fees or duties. During the course of the proceedings, the defendants were ordered by the judge to produce documents showing the quantity and value of the shipments (the statute applicable contains a forfeiture component that compelled defendants to produce evidence). H The Court held that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against the invasion into a person’s private matters and will not allow the government to compel a person to produce private papers through subpoena. This is equivalent to an unreasonable search and seizure.

⇒ This case is “the Americanization of Entick.” Boyd create the mere evidence rule: you can only search and/or seize instruments of the crime, fruits of the crime, not items of evidentiary rule i.e. diary, papers.

Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298 (1921): F Gouled was searched and seized pursuant to a warrant that produced documents of the defendant, later used at trial over objection. H The Court considered that 4th and 5th Amendments were violated applying Boyd. Search warrants may not be used as a means of gaining access to a man’s house or office and papers solely for the purpose of making search to secure evidence to be used against him in a criminal or penal proceeding.

Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966)*: F Schmerber was taken to the hospital after a car accident. He refused to give a blood sample for chemical analysis, so a police officer directed a doctor to take one anyway. The analysis showed that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He was tried for DUI and the analysis was entered into evidence. H The Court held that it was a reasonable search. Officer had probable cause that Schmerber was driving under the alcohol influence and there was no time to get a warrant (emergency). The Court created the difference between “testimonial evidence” and “physical evidence.”

Warden, Maryland Penitentiary v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294 (1967)*: F Police received a call that an armed robbery had just occurred. The caller gave a description of the suspect and informed the police that the robber had just entered a private residence. When the police arrived at the home (hot pursuit), they knocked at the door and Hayden’s wife answered the door. She let the police in to search the house. The police found Hayden and he was arrested. During the course of their search, the police also found a gun, a cap, ammunition, and clothing that were consistent with the description given of the robber. All of this evidence was introduced at trial. H The Court held that one’s clothing is non-testimonial for 5th Amendment purpose. “The exigencies of the situation, in which the officers were in pursuit of a suspected armed felon in the house which he had entered only minutes before they arrived, permitted their warrantless entry and search” and “the distinction prohibiting seizure of items of only evidential value and allowing seizure of instrumentalities, fruits, or contraband is no longer accepted as being required by the Fourth Amendment.”

⇒ Mere evidence rule is abolished.

Fisher v. United States, 425 U.S. 391 (1976): F The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in this case to resolve the conflict between the Third and Fifth Circuits regarding the extent to which the Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege of a client extends to an attorney when that attorney has been subpoenaed to produce documents given to him by his client. H The Court held that the Fifth Amendment protects only a witness from being a witness against himself in a criminal trial, and does not protect those documents that a person has given to his attorney. Once the attorney has possession of the documents, the threat of compulsion is removed from the witness himself and the Fifth Amendment does not apply.

Andresen v. Maryland, 427 U.S. 463 (1976): F State authorities obtained search warrants to search the defendant, Andresen’s law office, for papers evidencing a fraudulent sale of land. H The Court found that The Fifth Amendment’s protections against self-incrimination do not apply to information obtained from papers or other documents, which are properly seized.

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