Legal Brief of Michigan V. Tyler

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Case Name: Michigan v. Tyler 436 U.S. 499(1978) Issue: Do the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment apply to Firefighters in an active Arson Investigation? Facts: In the case of Michigan v. Tyler the firefighters had had legal reason to initially enter the premises of Tyler’s Auction house on January 22, 1970, which was to extinguish the fire and surmise the start of said fire. Upon extinguishing flames during a preliminary search containers containing flammable liquid were found in the premises. These containers were seized for evidence. At the time of this initial investigation the atmosphere inside the structure was not conducive to an extensive investigation due to the presence of smoke and steam. At 4:00 am the firemen left, locking the premises upon exiting, and returned 4 hours later to continue investigation. The findings in these investigations led to another investigation by Sergeant Hoffman of the Michigan State Police on February 16. Armed with the findings of these investigations Tyler and Tompkins were charged, tried, and convicted of conspiracy to burn real property. Holdings: Upon appeal the Michigan Supreme Court overturned these convictions citing that all evidence retrieved after the initial exiting of the building was inadmissible due to a search of the premises without a warrant and ruled that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment apply to Firefighters and Investigators after the initial fire is extinguished. Opinion: I disagree with the Supreme Courts Findings in that if there is Probable Cause to believe that arson is a factor the investigation would only be a benefit to the property owner if not at fault and obtain enough evidence for conviction incase of arson. I am a firm believer that the Government should not be able to intrude on your property however, in a fire all means of investigation should be exhausted to determine the cause. Policy: The Policy in this case ultimately turned out to be does the authority investigating a fire whether it...
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