Brown v. United States
411 U.S. 223 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. United States, 411 U.S. 223 (1973)

Brown v. United States

No. 71-6193

Argued December 7, 1972

Decided April 17, 1973

411 U.S. 223

Syllabus

Petitioners were convicted of transporting and conspiring to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce to their coconspirator, whose retail store was searched under a defective warrant while petitioners were in custody in another State. The charges against petitioners were limited to acts committed before the day of the search. At a pretrial hearing on petitioners' motion to suppress evidence seized at the store, petitioners alleged no proprietary or possessory interest in the store or the goods, and the District Court denied their motion for lack of standing. At petitioners' trial, the seized goods were introduced into evidence. In addition, police testimony as to statements by petitioners implicating each other were introduced into evidence in a manner contrary to Bruton v. United States,391 U. S. 123. The Court of Appeals concluded that the Bruton error was harmless in view of overwhelming independent proof of guilt, and affirmed the District Court's ruling on standing.

Held:

1. Petitioners had no standing to contest the admission of the evidence seized under the defective warrant, since they alleged no legitimate expectation of privacy or interest of any kind in the premises searched or the goods seized; they had no "automatic" standing under Jones v. United States,362 U. S. 257, as the case against them did not depend on possession of the seized evidence at the time of the contested search and seizure, and they could not vicariously assert the personal Fourth Amendment right of the store owner in contesting admission of the seized goods. Pp. 411 U. S. 227-230.

2. The testimony erroneously admitted was merely cumulative of other overwhelming and largely uncontroverted evidence properly before the jury, and the Bruton error was harmless. Pp. 411 U. S. 230-232.

452 F.2d 868, affirmed.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Page 411 U. S. 224

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