Unlawful Evidence 1951

Jesse Jeffers stashed drugs in his relatives’ hotel room. When police seized the drugs without a warrant, Jeffers challenged the use of this evidence at his trial citing the Fourth Amendment guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Government argued that Jeffers lacked property rights because his possessions were contraband and the hotel room was not his.

In United States v. Jeffers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jeffers. With no warrant, and no exceptional circumstances allowing a warrantless seizure, the police had obtained the evidence illegally. The Court reprovingly stated that police “too often” ignore the need for a warrant and invade “the security of the people against unreasonable search and seizure.”