Courthouse Steps Teleforum: Collins v. Virginia

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In Collins v. Virginia, police searched a motorcycle which was partially hidden under a tarp outside a private residence. The police believed the motorcycle was the same one they had seen earlier committing traffic violations, and had been reported stolen. Later it was found out that the motorcycle was indeed stolen and the owner, who lived in the private residence, had known the vehicle was stolen before purchase.

At trial, the owner tried to suppress the motorcycle as evidence because the police officers had not obtained a warrant before searching under the tarp. Under the Fourth Amendment automobile exception, is a police officer permitted to enter private property without a warrant in order to search a vehicle near the house? On May 29th, 2018, the Supreme Court decided 8-1 that such a search was not permitted under the Fourth Amendment.

Greg Brower will join us to discuss the decision and its implications.