Illinois V Rodriguez Case Essay

Total Length: 639 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Case Facts: On July 26, 1985, police officers were called to the residence of Dorothy Jackson whose daughter, Gail Fischer, showed signs of having been battered. She stated that she had been beaten earlier that day by Edward Rodriguez who was sleeping in a nearby apartment. She referred to this nearby residence as "our apartment" and led these law enforcement officers to it and opened the door with her key. After police officers entered, she agreed to a search of the residence though these officers did not have a search warrant. Through the search, police officers found drug paraphernalia and containers that contained white powder, which was later proven to be cocaine. Consequently, these officers seized the drugs and the paraphernalia, arrested Rodriguez, and later charged him with possession of a controlled substance with intention to deliver. During trial at the Cook County Circuit Court, Rodriguez attempted to suppress seized evidence on the basis that Fischer had no authority to agree to the search. Since Fischer had moved out few weeks before this incident and not been living there, there was no valid consent. The Circuit Court granted the motion on the argument that the search breached the Fourth Amendment and later affirmed by the Appellate Court.
The Illinois Supreme Court denied a petition for leave to appeal by the state and granted a writ of certiorari (Samaha, 2012).

Issue: The issue was whether the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits warrantless search since police officers did not actually obtain valid consent from an individual who legally had common authority over the residence.

Arguments or Objectives of the Parties: Rodriguez argued that the warrantless search violated the Fourth Amendment since Fischer had no authority to consent to the entry because she had left the apartment and was no longer living there several weeks before the occurrence of the incident. Rodriguez's objective was to suppress evidence that was seized during the arrest and used as the basis of this case. In contrast, the State of Illinois contended that the warrantless search was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment because police officers reasonably believed that Fischer had common authority to consent to entry. In this case, their actions did not violate this constitutional provision because of reasonableness and regardless of whether Fischer had common authority over the apartment (Samaha, 2012).


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Samaha, J. (2012). Criminal procedure (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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