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Florida v. Royer

United States Supreme Court
460 U.S. 491 (1983)


Facts

Royer (defendant) bought a one-way plane ticket and checked luggage under a fake name. In the airport concourse, law enforcement agents stopped Royer because they suspected he was a drug courier. Without verbally consenting, Royer gave the officers his ticket and identification. The officers kept the documents and asked Royer to come to a small room forty feet away. Royer followed. The officers then, without Royer’s consent, retrieved his luggage from the airline. Royer did not answer the officers when they asked to search the luggage; he did, however, unlock one of the suitcases. Royer permitted the officers to pry open the other. Drugs were found in both bags. Royer was charged with felony drug possession. Royer moved to suppress the evidence found in the luggage. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that Royer consented to search. The court concluded the search would have been reasonable without consent or a warrant, because the plane was about to depart. Royer was convicted, and he appealed the denial of his motion. The Florida District Court of Appeal, en banc, reversed, concluding Royer’s involuntary detention without probable cause violated Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968). Florida petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari, which was granted.

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Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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