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Home Used For Commercial Purposes Loses Much of Its Fourth Amendment Protection
Description Supreme Court reversed decision of Minnesota high court, holding that evidence that arose from a police officer looking in the window of a residence used for drug dealing could be used. Since the home was used for commercial purposes, the expectation of privacy was lost.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Fourth Amendment, Search, Privacy, Business Purpose
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Police officer looked through an apartment window to see Carter bagging cocaine. He was convicted of drug offenses. The trial and appeals court rejected his claim that his Fourth Amendment right had been violated because the apartment was being used for business purposes. The Minnesota supreme court reversed in his favor, holding that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the apartment and that the officer's action was an unreasonable search. Minnesota appealed.
Decision Reversed. To claim Fourth Amendment protection, a defendant must show that he had an expectation of privacy in the place searched. The protection offered by the Amendment depends upon where people are. The privacy expectation in commercial establishments is less than the privacy expectation in home. Since defendant was in the cocaine business, run from his apartment, the parties observed were engaged in commercial transactions and the apartment lost its greater level of privacy protection.
Citation Minnesota v. Carter, 119 S.Ct. 469 (1998)

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