CASE COMMENT: CRIMINAL LAW -- CALIFORNIA V. CARNEY: FASHIONING A "MOTOR HOME EXCEPTION" TO THE WARRANT RULE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1984 Notre Dame Law Review
University of Notre Dame

CASE COMMENT: CRIMINAL LAW -- CALIFORNIA V. CARNEY: FASHIONING A "MOTOR HOME EXCEPTION" TO THE WARRANT RULE

1984

60 Notre Dame L. Rev. 216

Author

Arthur H. Abel and Donald E. Moore

Excerpt

The fourth amendment proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures 1 has provoked heated debate among Supreme Court Justices for almost a century. 2 One school of thought addresses whether police searches or seizures are unreasonable in light of the circumstances underlying the action. A second, and more recently developed school of thought, views any warrantless search or seizure as per se unreasonable unless specifically exempted by one of several judicial doctrines. 3 The disagreement centers primarily on two competing concerns: the desire to foster fair and efficient law enforcement procedures by flexibly addressing the case-by-case circumstances surrounding warrantless intrusions and the desire to protect individual privacy interests by establishing procedural rules limiting such intrusions. 4

In People v. Carney, 5 the Supreme Court of California weighed these two concerns in a case where government agents searched a private motor home without a warrant. It Carney, the California court equated the privacy expectations in a motor home with those associated with a fixed home. 6 As a result, the court held that the fourth amendment protects the motor home just as it does a private dwelling. 7 Applying the per se warrant rule of the United States Supreme Court, 8 the California court rejected the government's reliance on the "automobile exception" to the warrant requirement to justify the warrantless intrusion. 9 In the court's opinion, that exception rested primarily upon the diminished privacy expectation in automobiles. 10 Since no such diminution of privacy existed in motor homes ...
 
 
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