Florida v. Jardines
569 U.S. ___ (2013)

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Justia Opinion Summary
Police took a drug-sniffing dog to Jardines’ front porch, where the dog gave a positive alert for narcotics. The officers then obtained a warrant for a search, which revealed marijuana plants. Jardines was charged with trafficking in cannabis. The Supreme Court of Florida approved the trial court’s suppression of the evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed. The investigation of Jardines' home was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. When the Government obtains information by physically intruding on persons, houses, papers, or effects, a search within the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment has "undoubtedly occurred." The right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion is the "very core” of the Fourth Amendment. The area immediately surrounding and associated with the home, the curtilage, is part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes. The front porch is the classic exemplar of an area to which the activity of home life extends. The officers' entry was not explicitly or implicitly invited. Officers need not "shield their eyes" when passing a home on public thoroughfares but "no man can set his foot upon his neighbour's close without his leave." A police officer without a warrant may approach a home in hopes of speaking to occupants, because that is “no more than any private citizen might do” but the scope of a license is limited not only to a particular area but also to a specific purpose, and there is no customary invitation to enter the curtilage simply to conduct a search.

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321 .

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Syllabus

FLORIDA v. JARDINES

certiorari to the supreme court of florida

No. 11–564. Argued October 31, 2012—Decided March 26, 2013

Police took a drug-sniffing dog to Jardines’ front porch, where the dog gave a positive alert for narcotics. Based on the alert, the officers obtained a warrant for a search, which revealed marijuana plants; Jardines was charged with trafficking in cannabis. The Supreme Court of Florida approved the trial court’s decision to suppress the evidence, holding that the officers had engaged in a Fourth Amendment search unsupported by probable cause.

Held: The investigation of Jardines’ home was a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 3–10.

     (a) When “the Government obtains information by physically intruding” on persons, houses, papers, or effects, “a ‘search’ within the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment” has “undoubtedly occurred.” United States v. Jones, 565 U. S. ___, ___, n. 3. Pp. 3–4.

     (b) At the Fourth Amendment’s “very core” stands “the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreason-able governmental intrusion.” Silverman v. United States, 365 U. S. 505 . The area “immediately surrounding and associated with the home”—the curtilage—is “part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes.” Oliver v. United States, 466 U. S. 170 . The officers entered the curtilage here: The front porch is the classic exemplar of an area “to which the activity of home life extends.” Id., at 182, n. 12. Pp. 4–5.

     (c) The officers’ entry was not explicitly or implicitly invited. Offi-cers need not “shield their eyes” when passing by a home “on public thoroughfares,” California v. Ciraolo, 476 U. S. 207 , but “no man can set his foot upon his neighbour’s close without his leave,” Entick v. Carrington, 2 Wils. K. B. 275, 291, 95 Eng. Rep. 807, 817. A police officer not armed with a warrant may approach a home in hopes of speaking to its occupants, because that is “no more than any private citizen might do.” Kentucky v. King, 563 U. S. ___, ___. But the scope of a license is limited not only to a particular area but also to a specific purpose, and there is no customary invitation to enter the curtilage simply to conduct a search. Pp. 5–8.

     (d) It is unnecessary to decide whether the officers violated Jardines’ expectation of privacy under Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347 . Pp. 8–10.

73 So. 3d 34, affirmed.

     Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Kagan, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Ginsburg and Sotomayor, JJ., joined. Alito, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy and Breyer, JJ., joined.

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