• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court held that guests in a private home had no expectation of privacy if they had no personal relationship with the householder and were in the home for a few hours purely to conduct a business transaction.

Responding to a tip, a Minnesota police officer looked through a gap in a closed blind located in a ground floor apartment and observed three men bagging white powder that looked like cocaine. The two guests were arrested after they left the apartment. At trial, their lawyers moved to suppress the evidence on the grounds that the initial observation was an unreasonable search that violated the Fourth Amendment. They referred to Minnesota v. Olson[case]Minnesota v. Olson[Minnesota v. Olson] (1990), in which the Supreme Court held that an overnight guest had a legitimate expectation of privacy within the home visited. In other cases, in contrast, the Court had held that the expectation of privacy in commercial property was less than in a private home.Privacy, right to;Minnesota v. Carter[Minnesota v. Carter]

Writing for a 6-3 majority, Chief Justice William H. RehnquistRehnquist, William H.;Minnesota v. Carter[Minnesota v. Carter] emphasized the commercial purpose of the visit, the relatively short time the visitors were in the building, and the lack of any previous connection between them and the householder. Because the visitors had no legitimate expectation of privacy in the home, the Court did not make a decision about whether the officer’s observation constituted a search. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy spoke for at least five justices in his concurring opinion, noting that “almost all social guests” would have a legitimate expectation of privacy in a host’s home.

Exclusionary rule

Fourth Amendment

Katz v. United States

Privacy, right to

Senate Judiciary Committee

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