ARTICLE: IN PURSUIT OF THE ELUSIVE FOURTH AMENDMENT: THE POLICE CHASE CASES Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1990 Tennessee Law Review Association, Inc.
Tennessee Law Review

ARTICLE: IN PURSUIT OF THE ELUSIVE FOURTH AMENDMENT: THE POLICE CHASE CASES

Fall, 1990

58 Tenn. L. Rev. 73

Author

Ronald J. Bacigal *

Excerpt

Introduction

As we mark the fourth amendment's bicentennial, the amendment continues to generate completely new questions as well as innovative variations on the familiar themes of search and seizure. Much of the present uncertainty surrounding the amendment understandably arises from the difficulty of applying the 200-year-old document to a twentieth century society permeated with computers, cellular phones, spy-in-the-sky satellites, and other technological threats to privacy. 1 It is surprising, however, to learn that the Supreme Court recently uncovered a fundamental fourth amendment issue unrelated to modern-day technological advances. The question of whether the amendment encompasses "accidental seizures" allows us to momentarily discard the debate over the "War on Drugs" 2 and other contemporary privacy issues, in order to refocus our attention on the fundamental purposes underlying the amendment.

While welcoming the Supreme Court's invitation to reflect upon the underlying theme of the fourth amendment, I find it somewhat paradoxical to be asked to apply the modifier "accidental" to the term "seizure." The paradigmatic definition of search and seizure was formulated in Katz v. United States 3 and Terry v. Ohio, 4 in which the Court held that the fourth amendment is applicable whenever government agents intrude upon a citizen's justifiable expectation of privacy or liberty. Katz and Terry indicated that there was no need to distinguish accidental from intentional seizures so long as the Court determined that there had been a governmental intrusion upon protected privacy or liberty interests. 5

Without openly ...
 
 
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