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On February 19, 2013 the Supreme Court announced its decision in Bailey v. United States. The question in this case was whether, under the Court’s 1981 decision in Michigan v. Summers, police officers may detain an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before execution of the warrant.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that the detention permitted under Summers is confined to the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched under the warrant.  The defendant in this case, the Court determined, was detained outside the immediate vicinity of the premises--and his detention thus could not be justified under Summers.  The Court therefore reversed the decision of the court of appeals, but remanded the case for consideration of whether, independent of Summers, the defendant’s detention was justified under the “reasonable suspicion” standard set forth in Terry v. Ohio.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion.  Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan.  Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Thomas and Alito.

To discuss the case, we have Stephen Henderson, who is a Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

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