Jones v. United States

362 U.S. 257, 80 S. Ct. 725 (1960)



A magistrate issuing a search warrant need not be convinced of the presence of contraband at a premises. A substantial basis for him to conclude that contraband is probably present at the premises is sufficient. Corroboration through other sources of information reduces the chances of a reckless or prevaricating tale.


While defendant was in an apartment, which he testified later was not his but that of a friend who permitted him to use it, the apartment was searched by federal officers armed with a search warrant. Narcotics were found and seized, and  defendant was arrested and charged with violating the narcotics laws. He moved to suppress the evidence so seized on the ground that the search was illegal because the warrant was not executed in conformity with the law. The trial court convicted defendant, and on appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and denied the motion to suppress on the grounds that defendant lacked standing to make the motion. The case was elevated on certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States.


Did the accused have standing?




The Court held that the possession with which defendant was charged gave him standing and the case was remanded to the district court to consider defendant's contention that the search warrant was not properly executed. Because the indictment charged possession, defendant was a "person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure" when he filed his motion to suppress. The government's interest in the effective enforcement of the law was not hampered by the recognition that defendant, who was legitimately on premises where the search occurred, could challenge the legality of the search in a motion to suppress when the fruits of the search were to be used against him. The affidavit upon which the warrant was based was sufficient if there was a substantial basis for crediting the hearsay upon which it was based.

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