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California v. Greenwood

United States Supreme Court
486 U.S. 35 (1988)


Facts

Police officers had information that Greenwood (defendant) was involved in illegal drug transactions. The police had a garbage collector empty his truck and then go pick up Greenwood’s trash, which was left outside on the curb for collection. The evidence from Greenwood’s trash was offered as probable cause to support the issuance of a warrant authorizing a search of Greenwood’s home. The search of Greenwood’s home yielded evidence that led to Greenwood’s arrest on drug charges. The trial court concluded that the search of a person’s trash violated the Fourth Amendment and the California Constitution. The trial court dismissed the charges against Greenwood. The state of California (plaintiff) appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal. The state supreme court declined to review the appellate decision. The state petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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