Zurcher v. Stanford Daily
United States Supreme Court
463 U.S. 547 (1978)
A reporter for the Stanford Daily (plaintiff) captured photographs of a violent confrontation between police and protesters at Stanford University Hospital. The county District Attorney (defendant) obtained a warrant to search the offices of the Stanford Daily for photographic materials providing evidence relevant to the circumstances of the confrontation. Officers searched various areas of the offices, including desks and trash cans, but did not open any locked doors or containers. Some members of the newspaper staff were present during the search. The staff members did not inform police that they were viewing confidential materials during some aspects of the search. The only evidence obtained from the search was the photographs taken by the reporter on the scene. The Stanford Daily filed suit in the federal district court seeking a declaratory judgment. The district court issued a rule that would have the effect of prohibiting the issuance of a search warrant when the subject of the search is not suspected of criminal activity, except in cases in which there is probable cause to believe that a subpoena duces tecum would not be obeyed and that evidence might be destroyed. The district court also held that First Amendment considerations supported a prohibition against the issuance of a warrant to search a newspaper office in most cases. The district court decision was affirmed on appeal and the county District Attorney petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s rule restricting the issuance of a search warrant and proceeded to consider the First Amendment implications of the search.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Concurrence (Powell, J.)
Dissent (Stewart, J.)
What to do next…
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 97,000 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.
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 168,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.