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Lo-Ji Sales, Inc. v. New York

United States Supreme Court
442 U.S. 319 (1979)


Facts

An investigator purchased two adult films which, after viewing them, he believed violated state obscenity laws. He showed the films to the town justice who issued a warrant authorizing the search of Lo-Ji Sales, Inc.’s (defendant) inventory and the seizure of the other copies of the two films. The investigator’s affidavit also stated that the store had other “similar” items he believed to also violate state obscenity law. The justice agreed to accompany the investigator to the store to determine whether there was in fact probable cause to believe other items violated state law. The warrant then contained a section authorizing the seizure of “the following items” but no specific items were listed. During the search of the store, when the justice found something he believed to violate state obscenity law, he ordered it seized as well as all “similar” items. In all, hundreds of films, reels, books and magazines were seized. After the search of the store, the warrant was amended to include all the items that were seized and the town justice signed the amended warrant.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.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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