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United States v. Robinson

United States Supreme Court
414 U.S. 218 (1973)


Facts

Robinson (defendant) was arrested for driving with an expired license. The arresting officer proceeded to search Robinson and during the pat-down, he felt something in Robinson’s breast pocket. After removing the object, the officer discovered it was a cigarette packet and upon opening the packet, the officer discovered capsules of heroin. The heroin was introduced as evidence at trial and Robinson was convicted. The court of appeals disagreed with the admission of the heroin holding that a search incident to arrest is only permissible if the officer seeks evidence related to the crime or if the officer undertakes a protective search to ensure the arrestee is not armed. Since no evidence of Robinson driving with an expired license would be found on his person, the court of appeals held that only a search for weapons was justified and the officer testified that he knew the object was not a weapon.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Powell, J.)

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Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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