Carroll v. United States

267 U.S. 132 (1925)

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Carroll v. United States

United States Supreme Court
267 U.S. 132 (1925)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD
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Facts

In September 1921, undercover federal prohibition agents agreed to buy three cases of whisky from John Carroll and George Kiro (the Carrolls) (plaintiffs). The Carrolls left the negotiation in an Oldsmobile roadster, stating that they were going to get the whisky from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Carrolls never returned. In 1921, the Eighteenth Amendment barring the sale and transport of alcohol in the United States was still in effect. The highway from Detroit, Michigan, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a known artery for bootleggers, or people who illegally traded in alcohol, to bring alcohol into the United States from neighboring Canada. Two months later, the same undercover prohibition officers observed the Carrolls driving the same Oldsmobile roadster on the highway heading from Detroit toward Grand Rapids. The officers were not looking for the Carrolls at the time they observed them on the road. The officers pulled the Carrolls over and searched the car, finding liquor. The officers did not have a warrant to search the Carrolls’ car. The Carrolls were arrested and ultimately convicted. The Carrolls appealed the conviction, arguing that the prohibition officers did not have probable cause to search their car and that the search therefore violated the Fourth Amendment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Taft, C.J.)

Dissent (McReynolds, J.)

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