Illinois v. Rodriguez 497 U.S. 177 (1990)
ILLINOIS v. RODRIGUEZ 497 U.S. 177 (1990)
This is another in a growing list of recent decisions that circumscribe the protections of the fourth amendment. In this case, a woman who made a criminal complaint against Rodriguez accompanied police to his apartment where they might arrest him. She had a key, claimed to be a cotenant, and consented to their entrance. In plain view, they found evidence of his possession of illegal drugs, and a state court convicted him for the narcotics violation. The facts showed that the woman was no longer a cotenant and possessed the key without Rodriguez's knowledge. The Court held that even if the police receive permission to search a home from one who does not have authority to grant consent, the search and seizure is reasonable if the police act in the good-faith belief that they have received consent from one entitled to give it.
The liberal trio of Justices, led by thurgood marshall, dissented from Justice antonin scalia's opinion for a six-member majority. Marshall asserted that third-party consent must be more than "reasonable"; it must be based on actual authority to give consent because one possesses a legitimate expectation of privacy in the home. Absent a voluntary limitation on one's expectation of privacy, the police should not be able to dispense with the Fourth Amendment's requirement of a search warrant. The majority had extended the exceptions to the warrant requirement by broadening the concept of a consent search.
Leonard W. Levy