MURRAY v. U.S. - 419 U.S. 942 (1974)


U.S. Supreme Court

MURRAY v. U.S. , 419 U.S. 942 (1974)

419 U.S. 942

Lonnie Melvin MURRAY
v.
UNITED STATES.
No. 73-6666.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 21, 1974

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

Acting upon information received from the Los Angeles Police Department that a man of a specified description would arrive on a certain airplane carrying heroin inside a garment bag, a San Francisco sheriff's deputy observed petitioner arriving on the designated flight, matching the description given and carrying a garment bag. The

Page 419 U.S. 942 , 943

deputy stopped petitioner, searched the bag, and discovered heroin that was used to secure petitioner's conviction for importing heroin into the United States. Petitioner appealed the conviction on the ground that the heroin should have been suppressed as the fruit of an unlawful search. The court below held that the report received from the Los Angeles police, as 'corroborated' by petitioner's appearance on the flight designated and matching the description, furnished probable cause for the forcible inspection of petitioner's garment bag.

Because the court below failed to inquire into the origin of the information furnished by the Los Angeles police, it cannot be said that probable cause for the search has been established. Had the information been based upon the observations of a Los Angeles Police officer, a proper assessment of probable cause would have necessitated examination of the observations on which he relied, to see whether they would have justified belief by a 'man of reasonable caution' that petitioner was carrying contraband, Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 162 (1925). Had the police report been based upon a tip received by the Los Angeles police from an informer, somewhat greater scrutiny would have been necessary to apply the requirements of Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108 (1964) and Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410 (1969). These cases held that to furnish probable cause a tip must disclose the informer's observations upon which any conclusion is based and must be accompanied by information supporting the informer's credibility.* Neither kind [419 U.S. 942 , 944]




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