Bond v. United States (2000)

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Bond v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued February, 2000
Decided April 17, 2000
Full case name Bond v United States
Citations 529 U.S. 334 (more)
Argument Oral argument
That the agent's physical manipulation of petitioner's carry-on bag violated the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unreasonable searches.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
Majority Rehnquist, joined by Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg
Dissent Breyer, joined by Scalia

Bond v United States, 529 U.S. 334 (2000), was a United States Supreme Court Fourth Amendment case that applied the ruling of Minnesota v. Dickerson to luggage, which held that police may not physically manipulate items without a warrant without violating the Fourth Amendment.[1]


During an immigration status check of a passenger on a bus in Texas, a United States Border Patrol Agent squeezed the soft luggage of Steven D Bond.[2] The Agent thought the bag held a "brick-like" object.[3] After Bond admitted that it was his bag and then consented to a search of the bag, the Border Patrol Agent found a "brick" of methamphetamine.[4] Bond was arrested and indicted on Federal drug charges.[5] Bond moved to suppress the "brick" of methamphetamine on the basis that the agent had conducted an illegal search of the bag when squeezing it.[5] He claimed that this was a violation of the Federal Constitution's Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.[5] The district court denied the motion, and found Bond guilty.[5] The Court of Appeals held that the agent's manipulation of the bag was not a search under the Fourth Amendment.[5]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

In a 7-2 opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the Court held that Agent Cantu's physical manipulation of Bond's bag violated the Fourth Amendment."[6]


  1. ^ Bond v United States, 529 U.S. 334, 339 (2000).
  2. ^ Bond, 529 U.S. at 335.
  3. ^ Bond, 529 U.S. at 336.
  4. ^ Bond, 529 U.S. at 336. In a footnote, the Court noted that "[t]he Government has not argued here that petitioner's consent to Agent Cantu's opening the bag is a basis for admitting the evidence." Bond, 529 U.S. at 336, n.1.
  5. ^ a b c d e Bond, 529 U.S. at 336.
  6. ^ Bond, 529 U.S. at 339.

External links[edit]