Government versus private action the fourth

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Government Versus Private Action The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures has been limited to actions by the government If a private individual searches or seizes evidence the person subjected to that activity is not protected by the Fourth Amendment
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Government officials A uniformed police officer acting in his or her official capacity is clearly a governmental actor within the Fourth Amendment In C amara v. Municipal Court the Supreme Court declared that searches by regulatory officials conducting health and safety inspections can be considered governmental actions
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When private individuals become government agents A private person becomes a governmental actor when acting at the “behest” of the government When governmental actors join in on a private search or instruct the private party what to do during the course of the search, the private party becomes a governmental actor for purposes of the Fourth Amendment
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Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Only when government action infringes on a reasonable expectation of privacy can a search be said to have occurred Prior to 1967, the definition of a search was closely tied to property interests If the police were looking for evidence, their actions would not be considered a search unless they physically infringed on an individual’s property
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Police had to be trespassing in order for their actions to be considered a search This became outdated in the decision of Katz v. United States The Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment “protects people, not places” so its reach “cannot turn upon the presence or absence of a physical intrusion into any given enclosure”
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1. undercover agents 2. the physical characteristics 3. open fields and curtilage 4. Enhancement devices
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Undercover agents Basically when a person voluntarily conveys incriminating information during the course of a conversation He or she cannot expect that party to whom he is communicating will not go to the police with the information
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Institutional agents Institutional agents are people who work in some form of institution (bank) and turn evidence over to authorities Not considered informants or undercover agents
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California v. Greenwood Garbage left on the curb
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Physical characteristics on public display What about an individuals physical characteristics? Courts have held that a person’s external physical characteristics are knowingly exposed to the public and thus not protected by the Fourth Amendment
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Open fields and curtilage Curtilage defined by the Supreme Court as the area To which extends the intimate activity associated with the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life (Oliver v.
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  • Spring '12
  • JimCluphf
  • Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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