Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,600+ case briefs...

Winston v. Lee

United States Supreme Court
470 U.S. 753 (1985)



Winston (plaintiff) was involved in a brief gunfight with a shop owner. Winston was shot in the chest. After being identified by the shop owner in the emergency room, Winston was charged with various offenses, including attempted robbery. Prior to trial, the state (defendant) filed a motion seeking to force Winston to undergo surgery that would remove the bullet from his chest so that it could be used as evidence. The trial judge granted the state’s motion. Winston petitioned the state supreme court for writs of prohibition and habeas corpus. The state court denied Winston’s petitions. Winston filed suit in federal district court seeking an injunction on Fourth Amendment grounds. The district court concluded that the surgery would be unreasonable because the risks inherent in the surgery outweighed the state’s interest in obtaining evidence. Nonetheless, the state court declined to issue a preliminary injunction because it concluded that Wilson was unlikely to succeed in his efforts to obtain a permanent injunction. After the district court ruling, an X-ray revealed that the bullet was lodged deeper in Winston’s chest than previously thought. Winston appealed to the federal appellate court. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s conclusion that the surgery would constitute an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The state petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 458,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 458,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial