August 4, 2013
The Merit case of Fernandez v. California is seeking to determine whether the Constitutional rights of Walter Fernandez were violated under the 4th Amendment when law enforcement conducted a search of his residence upon obtaining consent from his girlfriend, who was also a resident, after Fernandez was taken into custody (and had stated his objections to the search while at the scene). In Georgia v. Randolph (2006), in a 5 to 3 decision, the Supreme Court held that when two co-occupants are present and one consents to a search while the other refuses, the search is not constitutional. This paper will provide a statement of the decision, based on current law, research and issues that the writer has determined the Court should make including an analysis of the constitutional principles, Court precedents, facts of the case, and other relevant information. The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as adopted as part of the Bill of Rights was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison and was ratified in 1791. The amendment dealt with legal search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In relation to the case at hand, Sue Davis (2008) notes that “the Fourth Amendment offers us considerably more protection when we are in our home—whether rented or owned—even the home of a friend where we are staying”. The 4th Amendment outlines three encounters between police and citizens as it relates to search and seizure. The third category of encounter between the police and citizens, a full-scale arrest, requires probable cause. When police act without a warrant, they...