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The special protection accorded by the Fourth Amendment to the people in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects," is not extended to the open fields.
Hester was convicted by a district court of concealing distilled spirits. Hester argued on appeal that the district court had erred in refusing to exclude the testimony of two witnesses and to direct a verdict for him. Hester further argued that the district court had violated his rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
Did the examination of the jug which took place on land belonging to Hester’s father violate Hester’s Fourth Amendment rights?
The Court found that the witnesses were revenue officers who had picked up a jug of moonshine that Hester had discarded while running. Hester argued that the evidence was inadmissible because the officers did not have a warrant for search or arrest. The Court stated, in affirming Hester’s conviction, that there was no seizure of the jug because the officers examined the contents of the jug after it had been abandoned. The fact that the examination of the jug took place on land belonging to Hester’s father did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the special protection accorded by the Fourth Amendment did not extend to the open fields.