On the docket this November, the Supreme Court of the United States is set to consider several issues related to the Fourth Amendment, search and seizure and criminal defense.
In Bailey v. United States, the Justices will consider whether a person may be detained by police officers, even if he or she has left the premises to be searched, while police conduct a search pursuant to a warrant. The case is 11-770.
Police obtained a search warrant for a basement apartment to find a .380-caliber handgun based on a tip provided by a confidential informant. The informant claimed to have seen the gun during a drug purchase he made at the apartment the weekend prior to the search.
Two officers near the apartment saw Bailey, the petitioner in this case, leave the complex. He used a stairwell that had access both to the apartment that was the subject of the search as well as a separate part of the home. The two officers followed Bailey and detained him while another team searched the basement apartment, pursuant to the warrant.
A pat-down of Bailey led officers to a set of keys, one which opened the basement apartment. Officers handcuffed Bailey as a detention incident to a search, but Bailey denied living in the basement apartment. His driver’s license reflected a separate address as well.
Bailey was convicted on drug and gun charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is appealing his conviction on the basis that his detention and any evidence obtained during his detention should be suppressed because the stop was unconstitutional.
Source: Cornell, “Supreme Court 2012-2013 Term Preview“