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Groh v. Ramirez

United States Supreme Court
540 U.S. 551 (2004)

Groh v. Ramirez


In February 1997, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Agent Jeff Groh (defendant) received information that Joseph Ramirez and his family (plaintiffs) had a large number of weapons on their ranch in Montana. Groh presented an application for a warrant to search the ranch for various weapons and documents and a comprehensive supporting affidavit to a Magistrate. The Magistrate signed the warrant form Groh had prepared. The warrant form did not name and describe the items to be seized or incorporate the supporting documents by reference. The supporting documents were not provided to the plaintiffs with the warrant, but Groh did describe the items to be seized to the plaintiffs orally. The plaintiffs filed civil suit against Groh and other police officers, but the district court found no Fourth Amendment violation and granted summary judgment to the defendants. The Court of Appeals held that the warrant was invalid because it did not describe the place to be searched and items to be seized.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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