Patrick C. Cork


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.