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Oliver v. United States

United States Supreme Court
466 U.S. 170 (1984)



Two Kentucky State Police Officers went to a farm owned by Oliver (defendant) to investigate claims that marijuana was being grown on the property. View of the property was obstructed by fences and woods, the entrance to the property was gated and locked, and “No Trespassing” signs were posted. The officers did not have a search warrant or probable cause for a search. The officers discovered the field of marijuana more than a mile from Oliver’s house. Oliver was arrested for the manufacture of a controlled substance. The district court held a pretrial hearing to determine whether to allow evidence of the discovery of the field to be presented at trial. The court held that Oliver had a reasonable expectation of privacy because his farm was not an “open” field and suppressed the evidence based on Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). Sitting en banc, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed on the grounds that Katz did not undermine the “open fields” doctrine from Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57 (1924), allowing police to search fields without a warrant.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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