Case Detail

United States v. Flores-Montano
On March 30, 2004, the US Supreme Court held that customs officials are allowed to inspect thoroughly all vehicles crossing the border into the US, regardless whether the officials have reason to suspect that the vehicle contains contraband. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief arguing that national security concerns justify suspicionless searches and more than outweigh the inconvenience imposed on drivers who may be delayed for an hour or two while a search of their car is carried out. In the case before the Court, a random search of a car's fuel tank uncovered 37 kilograms of marijuana, but the appeals court threw out the evidence on the ground that the search violated the Mexican driver's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. WLF argued that if fuel tanks are declared off limits to random searches by customs officials, the court would provid a road map to drug smugglers and terrorists to circumvent border security measures.
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More Information and Downloads:
11/26/2003: Download the Brief

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