Dressler’s 4th Amendment Checklist
A. Should a particular object or oral communication, secured by gov’t agents, and which the prosecutor intends to introduce at trial against the Ds, in
the gov’ts case-in-chief, be excluded because it was obtained in violation of the 4th amendment?
i. Police activity that resulted in discovery of particular evidence at issue, and may consider following questions in chronological order,
i.e. in order that police secured the evidence
1. Does D have standing to raise a 4th amendment challenge to the specific item of evidence in question?
If no, then evidence is admissible.
If yes, then proceed to determine whether each individual D has standing; some may and others may not
Is D among “the people” protected by the 4th amendment?
If no, the 4th amendment does NOT apply (VERY RARE)
If yes, then next question
3. Did the police activity in question implicate a “person, house, paper or effect”
If no, then 4th amendment does NOT apply (VERY RARE)
b. Katz: 4th amendment protects persons NOT people, person must have a reasonable expectation of privacy
(SUBJECTIVE) and must be an expectation that society as a whole is willing to recognize (OBJECTIVE)
4. Did the police activity constitute a “search” and / or “seizure”?
If no, 4th amendment does NOT apply
Is it Terry level stop & frisk?
i. Does reasonable person in Ds circumstances believe that they are free to leave?
5. Was the search and/or seizure reasonable or unreasonable ?
Did the police have adequate grounds to conduct he search and or seizure?
b. Did the police act on the basis of a search warrant and or arrest warrant
If no, Did the police have a valid reason for failing to obtain a warrant?
1. Did police obtain warrant in proper manner
2. Was the party issuing the warrant a neutral and detached magistrate
3. Was the warrant in proper form, e.g. does it satisfy the constitutional particularity
Place, Things or items to be