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Los Angeles County, California v. Rettele

United States Supreme Court
127 S. Ct. 1989 (2007)


Facts

Officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (defendants) were investigating a case of fraud and identity theft. The four suspects were African-Americans, and one was the registered owner of a gun. A deputy secured a search warrant on December 11, 2001 to search a home where the suspects were believed to be. The deputy was unaware that the home had been sold three months before to Max Rettele (plaintiff), who lived there with Judy Sadler and Chase Hall (plaintiffs). The plaintiffs were white. When officers executed the search, Hall answered the door and was ordered to lie down. Rettelle and Sadler were sleeping naked, and police ordered them out of the bed at gunpoint for one to two minutes before allowing them to get dressed. When the officers realized the mistake, they apologized and left. The plaintiffs sued the officers for violations of the Fourth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court found the search valid and granted summary judgment to the officers. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was divided, but reversed in an unpublished opinion. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed by per curiam opinion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per Curium)

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