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Supreme Court dives into the Fourth Amendment: Can a parked, covered motorcycle be searched without a warrant?

January 9, 2018

Police in Virginia had been on the lookout for an orange Suzuki racing motorbike. Its driver had escaped two officers at different times.

Based on a tip from an informant, the officers tracked a Facebook photo of the suspected bike to a home where they saw a motorcycle sticking out from under a tarp. The officer could see 1/4 of a wheel, including enough of the accents to recognize the distinct features of the Suzuki they were looking for.

One of the officers uncovered the motorcycle, identified it, and wrote down the VIN number. It turned out to have been stolen from New York several years before. Ryan Collins, already a suspect in the motorcycle escapes, was dropped off at the house shortly thereafter. The officers questioned him and ended up arresting him for receiving stolen property.

In Collins v. Virginia, the Court will decide if the officer had the right to search the motorcycle without a warrant.

See our Argument Explainer for the full report.

See another Fourth Amendment case argued on the same day: Byrd v. United States.

Can you expect privacy from police search if you are driving a rental car but not listed on the lease?



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