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Home / Case Digests / 01-1375 U.S. v. Tolar

01-1375 U.S. v. Tolar

“Businesses such as C&I’s lot that can be observed by anyone passing on the street lack any comparable privacy interest. An open gate invites entry, and a chain-link fence does little to assert a privacy interest (as opposed to a property interest) in details visible from outside the fence. Agents would have needed cause, and perhaps a warrant or equivalent order, to enter in order to open containers, take soil samples, or otherwise investigate aspects of the lot that the public could not observe from outside. Compare New York v. Burger, 482 U.S. 691 (1987), with United States v. Tarkowski, 248 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2001). But they did none of these things – did not conduct any form of search – and so did not violate the fourth amendment by entering the lot in order to find the owner and ask his permission to do more.”

Affirmed.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kocoras, J., Easterbrook, J.


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