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Coolidge v. New Hampshire

United States Supreme Court
403 U.S. 443 (1971)


Facts

Pamela Mason was murdered. Police questioned Edward Coolidge (defendant). Coolidge was cooperative. While Coolidge was taking a lie-detector test, police arrived at his home, questioned his wife, and obtained evidence from her. Police presented the evidence to the state attorney general, who was in charge of the prosecution. Police applied to the attorney general for arrest and search warrants, including a warrant to search Coolidge’s Pontiac. The attorney general, in his capacity as a justice of the peace, granted the warrant. Police arrested Coolidge. Police told Coolidge’s wife to leave, placed the house under guard, and had the Coolidges’ cars towed to the station. Microscopic evidence gathered from the Pontiac was presented against Coolidge at trial, over his motions to suppress, and a jury convicted him. The state supreme court affirmed, and Coolidge petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari, contending the warrantless search of the Pontiac was unconstitutional.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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