Opinions & Commentaries

Pursuant to a Texas statute, a district judge issued a warrant describing petitioner's home and authorizing the search and seizure there of "books, records, pamphlets, cards, receipts, lists, memoranda, pictures, recordings and other written instruments concerning the Communist Party of Texas." Officers conducted a search for more than four hours, seizing more than 2,000 items, including stock in trade of petitioner's business and personal books, papers, and documents, but no "records of the Communist Party" or any "party lists and dues payments." Petitioner filed a motion with the magistrate who issued the warrant to have it annulled and the property returned, but the motion was denied.

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392 U.S. 636 (1968) LEE ART THEATRE, INC. v. VIRGINIA. No. 997. Supreme Court of United States. Decided June 17, 1968. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA. Plato Cacheris for petitioner. James B. Wilkinson for respondent. PER CURIAM. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. Petitioner, operator of a motion picture theatre in Richmond, Virginia, was convicted in the Hustings Court of Richmond of possessing and exhibiting lewd and obscene motion pictures in violation of Title 18.1-228 of the Code of Virginia. The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia refused […]

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413 U.S. 496 (1973) ROADEN v. KENTUCKY No. 71-1134. Supreme Court of the United States. Argued November 14, 1972. Decided June 25, 1973. CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF KENTUCKY Phillip K. Wicker argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner. Robert v. Bullock, Assistant Attorney General of Kentucky, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Ed. W. Hancock, Attorney General.[*] *497 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of of the Court. The question presented in this case is whether the seizure of allegedly obscene material, contemporaneous with and as an incident to […]

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Respondents, a student newspaper that had published articles and photographs of a clash between demonstrators and police at a hospital, and staff members, brought an action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against, among others, Petitioners, law enforcement and district attorney personnel, claiming that a search pursuant to a warrant issued on a judge's finding of probable cause that the newspaper (which was not involved in the unlawful acts) possessed photographs and negatives revealing the identities of demonstrators who had assaulted police officers at the hospital had deprived respondents of their constitutional rights.

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This case concerns the proper standard for issuance of a warrant authorizing the seizure of materials presumptively protected by the First Amendment. Respondents P. J. Video, Inc., and James Erhardt were charged in the village of Depew, New York, Justice Court with six counts of obscenity in the third degree under § 235.05(1) of the New York Penal Law.[1] Respondents moved to suppress five videocassette movies that had been seized from respondents' store, and that formed the basis for the obscenity charges *870 against respondents, on the ground that the warrant authorizing the seizure was issued without probable cause to believe that the movies were obscene. The Justice Court granted the motion and dismissed the informations under which respondents were charged, and both the County Court of Erie County and the New York Court of Appeals affirmed. 65 N. Y. 2d 566, 483 N. E. 2d 1120 (1985). We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict between the decision of the New York Court of Appeals in the instant case and the decisions in Sequoia Books, Inc. v. McDonald, 725 F. 2d 1091 (CA7 1984), and United States v. Pryba, 163 U. S. App. D. C. 389, 502 F. 2d 391 (1974), cert. denied, 419 U. S. 1127 (1975). 474 U. S. 918 (1985). We now reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

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