405 U.S. 965 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

LAUCHLI v. U.S. , 405 U.S. 965 (1972)

405 U.S. 965

Richard A. LAUCHLI, Jr.
No. 71-5686.

Supreme Court of the United States

February 28, 1972

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

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

Petitioner brought this civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1985 to recover damages from agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the Treasury Department. He alleged that they had conducted un-

Page 405 U.S. 965 , 966

lawful searches of his property beyond the scope of their warrants. Both lower courts denied the petitioner, a pauper, permission to proceed n forma pauperis. The terse orders simply stated that the unlawful search issue was frivolous. [Footnote 1] Yet there is no doubt that a civil rights damage action is apprpriate where federal agents ransack one's premises without authority. Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The Solicitor General, however, contends that the order of the Court of Appeals was nonetheless correct because the agents' searches had already been validated in the previous and finalized criminal proceeding. [Footnote 2]

This action, brought to vindicate deprivations of Fourth Amendment privileges, is akin to that of the remedy of federal habeas corpus. The latter relief is not barred merely because the grounds relied on have been rejected on direct review of the conviction. [Footnote 3] Inasmuch as both 42 [405 U.S. 965 , 967]

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