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United States v. Sokolow

United States Supreme Court
490 U.S. 1 (1989)



Andrew Sokolow (defendant) fit the profile of a drug smuggler. Sokolow purchased expensive airline tickets from Honolulu to Miami in cash, used his mother’s last name, gave the ticket agent a phone number listed under the name of another man (Sokolow’s roommate), did not check any luggage, and spent 20 hours travelling and only 48 hours in Miami. Sokolow was young, dressed in a black jumpsuit and gold jewelry, and appeared nervous. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Agents stopped Sokolow in front of the airport on his return to Honolulu. A drug dog hit on one of Sokolow’s bags, and agents secured a search warrant for the bag. Agents found suspicious documents but no drugs. The drug dog tested the bags again and hit on another bag. The next day, agents secured a warrant for the second bag and found over 1,000 grams of cocaine. Sokolow was indicted for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Sokolow moved to suppress the evidence found in the bags. The United States District Court for Hawaii found reasonable cause existed and denied the motion. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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