Washington Law Review


David C. Anson


Defendant Robinson was stopped by a District of Columbia police officer for driving an automobile after revocation of his operator's permit and for obtaining a substitute permit by false representation. Robinson was placed in custody, advised of his rights and frisked by the arresting officer. During the frisk, the officer felt a bulge in Robinson's overcoat pocket; he reached into the pocket and removed a crumpled cigarette package containing small round objects. The officer opened the package and discovered gelatin capsules, later found to contain heroin. At trial for possession of heroin, the capsules were introduced into evidence over the objection that they were the fruit of an illegal search; Robinson was convicted. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, en banc, reversed the conviction, holding that the search of Robinson's person had violated the fourth amendment. Defendant Gustafson was stopped by Florida police for weaving across the median stripe. Unable to produce his driver's license, Gustafson was arrested for driving without a valid operator's license and taken into custody. Before placing him in the squad car, the arresting officer conducted a frisk of Gustafson's clothing but detected no suspicious objects. Upon completing the pat-down, the officer placed his hand in Gustafson's coat pocket, extracted a Benson and Hedges cigarette box, opened the box and found marijuana cigarettes. At trial, the marijuana was introduced into evidence over Gustafson's objection that the intensity of the search had violated the fourth amendment; Gustafson was convicted. The Supreme Court of Florida affirmed the conviction.

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