NOTE: Connecticut v. Mooney: Can a Homeless Person Find Privacy Under a Bridge? Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1993 Pace Law Review
Pace Law Review

NOTE: Connecticut v. Mooney: Can a Homeless Person Find Privacy Under a Bridge?

Winter, 1993

13 Pace L. Rev. 229


Teryl Smith Eisenberg *


I. Introduction

"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property." 1 To achieve this purpose, the framers of the United States Constitution enacted the Fourth Amendment, which includes a search and seizure clause and a warrant clause: 2

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 3

The Amendment reflects the clash between the individual's protection of person and property and the necessity of law enforcement for social control. 4 Under the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot conduct a warrantless search of an area in which an individual possesses a reasonable expectation of privacy. 5 The clearest example of such an "area" is a person's house or home. 6

The ideals and principles encompassed by the Fourth Amendment are currently coming face to face with the era of
homelessness. The homeless do not have a traditional "home". 7 Does the Fourth Amendment protect these non-traditional homes and the person's possessions within? For example, should homeless persons who build makeshift homes on governmentowned land be afforded the expectation of privacy, and subsequent Fourth Amendment protection, normally associated with a "home?" 8 What if an individual creates a "home" within a natural cave located on ...
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