The right of citizens to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In Michigan v. Summers, the United States Supreme Court addressed the question of whether police may legally seize and detain an occupant of a house that is being searched for narcotics pursuant to a valid search warrant even though there is no probable cause to believe such occupant has committed any offense. The Court held that a warrant to search for contraband founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search is being conducted. This case is significant because the Court has often stressed the importance of warrant procedure, but has seldom dealt with the means by which warrants are actually executed. The Court's ruling represents a serious threat to the Fourth Amendment principle which requires that all seizures be based on probable cause. A ruling by the Court that has an erosive effect on the Fourth Amendment's protection against oppressive governmental intrusions should be carefully scrutinized.
Patrick C. Cork, Criminal Procedure - Warrant to Search Premises as Authorizing Search and Detention of Occupants of Premises, 4 Campbell L. Rev. 191 (1981).