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Bond v. United States

United States Supreme Court
529 U.S. 334 (2000)


Agent Cantu, having boarded a bus, started to squeeze the soft luggage in the overhead bins because he was searching for drugs on board. In the overhead bin at the back of the bus, where Bond (defendant) was seated, Cantu felt a green canvas bag and noticed that it contained a “brick-like” object. Bond said that the bag was his and allowed Cantu to search it. Cantu discovered, wrapped in duct tape, in an oval shape, a certain amount of methamphetamine, which was rolled up in a pair of pants. Bond moved to suppress the evidence, but the motion was denied and he was convicted. On appeal, Bond argued that the search was illegal. He claimed that although the bag was open to the public, Cantu had manipulated the bag in a way that the other passengers would not have. The court of appeals said that Cantu’s manipulation of the bag was intended to detect drugs and was irrelevant for the Fourth Amendment analysis. The court held that the manipulation of Bond’s bag was not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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Dissent (Breyer, J.,)

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