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Rakas v. Illinois

Supreme Court of the United States

October 3, 1978, Argued ; December 5, 1978, Decided

No. 77-5781

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

Petitioners sought review of a decision from the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third Division, which affirmed their convictions for armed robbery on the ground that their motion to suppress evidence was properly denied because they lacked standing to object to the unlawful search and seizure of a vehicle under U.S. Const. amend. IV.


The Court affirmed petitioners' convictions for armed robbery because their motion to suppress a sawed-off rifle and shells seized by the police during the search of a vehicle in which petitioners were passengers was properly denied. Noting that the inquiry was essentially the same, the Court expressed that the preferred analysis for determining the scope of constitutional rights protected by the exclusionary rule focused on the substantive question of whether petitioners had their own rights infringed by the police's search and seizure, rather than on the concept of standing, as previously decided. Further, the Court determined that the appropriate measure of rights was no longer guided solely by whether petitioners were legitimately on the premises that the police searched. Without holding that a property interest was required, the Court decided that U.S. Const. amend. IV protected only those places in which petitioners themselves had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Using this analysis, the Court found that petitioners' rights were not violated where they had no legitimate expectation of privacy in areas of a car in which they claimed no property or possessory interest.


The Court affirmed the judgment convicting petitioners of armed robbery because their motion to suppress evidence was properly denied where petitioners' own rights were not violated. Petitioners had no legitimate expectation of privacy in areas of a car in which they claimed no property or possessory interest.

LexisNexis® Headnotes



Criminal Law & Procedure > Criminal Offenses > Weapons Offenses > General Overview

Criminal Law & Procedure > Preliminary Proceedings > Pretrial Motions & Procedures > Suppression of Evidence

HN1  Criminal Offenses, Weapons Offenses

The proponent of a motion to suppress has the burden of establishing that his own Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the challenged search or seizure.


Civil Procedure > ... > Justiciability > Standing > Personal Stake

Constitutional Law > ... > Case or Controversy > Standing > Elements

Civil Procedure > ... > Justiciability > Standing > General Overview

Constitutional Law > ... > Case or Controversy > Standing > General Overview

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Exclusionary Rule

HN2  Standing, Personal Stake

A party seeking relief must allege such a personal stake or interest in the outcome of the controversy as to assure the concrete adverseness which U.S. Const. art. III requires. Thus, a person whose rights under U.S. Const. amend. IV were violated by a search or seizure, but who is not a defendant in a criminal action in which the illegally seized evidence is sought to be introduced, does not have standing to invoke the exclusionary rule to prevent use of that evidence in that action.


Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Exclusionary Rule

Criminal Law & Procedure > Search & Seizure > Exclusionary Rule > General Overview

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

HN3  Search & Seizure, Exclusionary Rule

Fourth amendment rights are personal rights which, like some other constitutional rights, may not be vicariously asserted. A person who is aggrieved by an illegal search and seizure only through the introduction of damaging evidence secured by a search of a third person's premises or property has not had any of his Fourth Amendment rights infringed. Since the exclusionary rule is an attempt to effectuate the guarantees of U.S. Const. amend. IV, it is proper to permit only defendants whose Fourth Amendment rights have been violated to benefit from the rule's protections.

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439 U.S. 128 ; 99 S. Ct. 421 ; 58 L. Ed. 2d 387 ; 1978 U.S. LEXIS 2452 


Subsequent History:  [1]  Petition For Rehearing Denied January 15, 1979.


Disposition:  46 Ill. App. 3d 569, 360 N. E. 2d 1252, affirmed.