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Segura v. United States

United States Supreme Court
468 U.S. 796 (1984)



Drug enforcement agents suspected that Andres Segura and Luz Marina Colon (the couple) (defendants) were involved in an illegal drug operation based on an informant's tips and their own surveillance. Before obtaining a search warrant, the agents entered the couple's apartment, arrested the couple, and sent them to jail. While in the apartment, the agents observed incriminating evidence but did not conduct a search. The agents remained in the apartment to prevent the destruction of evidence. Nineteen hours later, the agents obtained a warrant, searched the premises, and found additional incriminating evidence. The agents seized that evidence, as well as the evidence they observed the day before. The United States government (plaintiff) charged the couple with drug offenses. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York found the agents' initial entry illegal and granted the couple's pretrial motion to suppress all seized evidence. The government appealed this ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The appellate court affirmed the trial court as to evidence observed before the warrant was obtained but overruled the trial court as to evidence found during the search under warrant. The couple was convicted in trial court, and the court of appeals affirmed the convictions. The couple appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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