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A warrant to search for contraband founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search is conducted.
When police officers executing a warrant to search a house for narcotics encountered Summers descending the front steps, they requested his assistance in gaining entry and detained him while they searched the premises. After finding narcotics and ascertaining that Summers owned the house, the police arrested him, searched his person, and found heroin in his coat pocket. Summers, who was charged with possession of the heroin found on his person, moved to suppress the heroin as the product of an illegal search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The trial judge granted the motion and quashed the information, and both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed.
Were Summers’ pre-arrest seizure and search constitutionally permissible?
The court reversed the judgment of the lower court because it was lawful to require Summers to reenter and remain in the house until evidence establishing probable cause to arrest him was found. The court held that pursuant to U.S. Const. amend. IV, Summers’ pre-arrest seizure and search were constitutionally permissible, because a warrant to search for contraband, founded on probable cause, implicitly carried with it the limited authority to detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search was conducted.