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Wong Sun v. United States

United States Supreme Court
371 U.S. 471 (1963)


Facts

Federal narcotics agents arrested Hom Way for drug possession. Hom Way told the police he got the drugs from “Blackie Toy” who owned a laundromat. The agents went to the laundromat, and James Wah Toy answered the door. When he realized it was the police, he ran back into the building. The police chased and arrested him. No drugs were found but when the agents told him why they were there he said he never sold drugs but that “Jonny” sells drugs. The agents then had Toy take them to Jonny Yee’s home where they found Yee in the bedroom. Yee surrendered his drugs and drug paraphernalia. Yee and Toy were then taken to the Office of the Bureau of Narcotics where Yee told the agents he received the drugs from “Sea Dog,” whose real name, Toy said, was Wong Sun (defendant). Toy then took the agents to Wong Sun’s house where Wong Sun’s wife let them into the home and Wong Sun was arrested. No drugs were found. Toy, Yee and Wong Sun were all arraigned and released on their own recognizance. The men returned to the office several days later. The agents interrogated all three men separately and drafted statements for them to sign. Toy refused to sign his statement. Wong Sun would not sign his but admitted that it was accurate. The court of appeals found that there was no probable cause or reasonable grounds for Toy’s or Wong Sun’s arrest.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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