City of Los Angeles v. Patel

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City of Los Angeles v. Patel
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 3, 2015
Decided June 22, 2015
Full case name City of Los Angeles, Cal. v. Patel, et al.
Docket nos. 13-1175
Citations 576 U.S. ___ (more)
Argument Oral argument
Prior history 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78914 (C.D. Cal., Sept. 5, 2008); 686 F.3d 1085 (9th Cir. 2012); 738 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2013) en banc.
Holding
Los Angeles Municipal Code § 41.49, which requires hotel operators to record and keep specific information about their guests on the premises for a ninety-day period and to make those records available to "any officer of the Los Angeles Police Department for inspection" on demand, is facially unconstitutional because it fails to provide the operators with an opportunity for pre-compliance review.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
Majority Sotomayor, joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan
Dissent Scalia, joined by Roberts, Thomas
Dissent Alito, joined by Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. IV; U.S. Const. amend. XIV; Los Angeles Mun. Code § 41.49

Los Angeles v. Patel, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a Los Angeles law, Municipal Code § 41.49, requiring hotel operators to retain records about guests for a ninety-day period is facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution because it does not allow for pre-compliance review.[1]

Background[edit]

Los Angeles, in its city code,[2] required hotels to keep certain specified information about their customers, including the name and address, vehicle information, dates of the stay, room number, and how the customer paid the bill, among other information.[3] The hotel had to keep the information for 90-days, and if a police officer requested the information, the hotel had to make it available or face criminal penalties.[4] In 2003, Naranjibhai and Ramilaben Patel and other hotel operators sued the city in the federal district court, alleging that the ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment.[5]

Lower courts[edit]

U.S. District Court[edit]

The case was first heard in the U.S. District Court by Judge Dale S. Fischer.[6] The city argued that the hotel industry was "closely regulated," which would allow administrative inspections without a search warrant.[7] Judge Fischer found that the industry was not closely regulated, noting that the city had provided no information to show that it was closely regulated.[8] She concluded, however, that the hotel owners had no reasonable expectation of privacy and that the ordinance was therefore constitutional.[9]

Circuit court of appeals[edit]

Patel appealed to the Ninth Circuit court, where it was heard by a three judge panel consisting of judges Harry Pregerson, Richard R. Clifton, and Carlos T. Bea.[10] The court, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed the decision of the district court on the same grounds.[11]

En banc rehearing[edit]

The Patels then requested that the case be reheard en banc, before all the judges in the Ninth Circuit.[12] The entire court found that the owners did, in fact, have a possessory interest in the registry and an expectation of privacy.[13] The fact that this was hotel property and there was a reasonable expectation of privacy placed the documents under the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.[14] The court reversed on a 7-4 vote.[15]

After the ruling, the City of Los Angeles filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, which the Court granted on October 20, 2014.[16]

Supreme Court[edit]

Arguments[edit]

Brief and arguments of Los Angeles[edit]

The city's brief was prepared by E. Joshua Rosenkranz, Robert M. Loeb, and Rachel W. Apter, of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; by Orin Kerr; and by Mike Feuer, James P. Clark, Thomas H. Peters, Gregory P. Orland of the City Attorney's Office.[17] Rosenkranz argued that the ordinance had been in effect and used for 150 years and only required showing the police a single book.[18] Further, that the use of the register serves as a deterrent to crime.[19]

Brief and arguments of Patel[edit]

Patel's brief was prepared by Thomas C. Goldstein, Kevin K. Russell, and Tejinder Singh, of Goldstein & Russell; and by the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Harvard Law School.[20]

Amicus briefs[edit]

Amicus curiae briefs in support of Los Angeles were filed by the United States,[21] the County of Los Angeles[fn 1], by California,[fn 2] Drug Free America Foundation,[fn 3] California State Sheriffs' Association,[fn 4] and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.[26] Briefs in support of Patel were filed by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association,[27] the Electronic Frontier Foundation,[28] the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,[29] the Rutherford Institute,[30] Gun Owners of America[fn 5], the Cato Institute,[32] Professors Adam Lamparello & Charles E. MacLean,[33] Institute for Justice,[34] Google,[35] and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.[36] A brief in support of neither party was filed by Love146.[37]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the 5–4 majority opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. The majority opinion held that "facial challenges under the Fourth Amendment are not categorically barred or especially disfavored," citing cases such as Sibron v. New York and Chandler v. Miller.

Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Roberts and Thomas, wrote a dissent to argue that such a warrantless search is permitted in this case because it satisfies the conditions of a regulatory scheme for a closely regulated business. Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Thomas, filed a second dissent, listing five other scenarios where the law could be applied constitutionally.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Joined by the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties.[22]
  2. ^ Joined by the states of Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.[23]
  3. ^ Joined by Community Anti-Drug Collations of America and the Institute on Global Drug Policy.[24]
  4. ^ Joined by the California Police Chiefs' Association, California Peace Officers' Association, National Sheriffs' Association, Major County Sheriffs' Association, and Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association.[25]
  5. ^ Joined by Gun Owners Foundation, U.S. Justice Foundation, Lincoln Institute For Research And Education, Abraham Lincoln Foundation, Downsize DC Foundation, Downsizedc.Org, Conservative Legal Defense And Education Fund, and the Policy Analysis Center.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ City of Los Angeles v. Patel: SCOTUSblog, SCOTUSblog.com, n.d. (last viewed July 13, 2015); City of Los Angeles v. Patel, No. 13-1175, 576 U.S. ____, slip op. (2015) (hereinafter cited as Patel).
  2. ^ Los Angeles, Cal. Municipal Code § 41.49 (hereinafter cited as LAMC).
  3. ^ Patel, at *5-6; City of Los Angeles v. Patel article, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (last visited June 24, 2015) (hereinafter cited as Oyez Project).
  4. ^ LAMC § 41.49(3)(a).
  5. ^ Patel, at *7; Oyez Project.
  6. ^ Patel v. City of Los Angeles, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78914 (C.D. Cal., Sept. 5, 2008).
  7. ^ 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78914, at *5; Oyez Project.
  8. ^ 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78914, at *6.
  9. ^ 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78914, at *7-8; Oyez Project.
  10. ^ Patel v. City of Los Angeles, 686 F.3d 1085 (9th Cir. 2012).
  11. ^ 686 F.3d, at 1090; Oyez Project.
  12. ^ Patel v. City of Los Angeles, 738 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2013), en banc.
  13. ^ 738 F.3d, at 1061.
  14. ^ 738 F.3d, at 1062; Oyez Project.
  15. ^ 738 F.3d, at 1059.
  16. ^ City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 135 S. Ct. 400 (2014).
  17. ^ Pet'r Br. at *7, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4409 (2015).
  18. ^ City of Los Angeles v. Patel argument, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (last visited June 27, 2015) (hereinafter cited as Argument).
  19. ^ Argument.
  20. ^ Resp't Br. at *7, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 213 (2015).
  21. ^ Br. of United States, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4584 (2015).
  22. ^ Br. of County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4590 (2015).
  23. ^ Br. of Cal., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4619 (2015).
  24. ^ Br. of Drug Free Am. Found., Inc., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4625 (2015).
  25. ^ Br. of Cal. State Sheriffs' Ass'n, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4591 (2015).
  26. ^ Br. of Manhattan Inst. for Pol'y Research, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4589 (2015).
  27. ^ Br. of Asian Am. Hotel Owners Ass'n, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2005 (2015).
  28. ^ Br. of Elec. Frontier Found., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 486 (2015).
  29. ^ Br. of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1997 (2015).
  30. ^ Br. of the Rutherford Inst., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 349 (2015).
  31. ^ Br. of Gun Owners of Am.., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2014 (2015).
  32. ^ Br. of Cato Inst., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 488 (2015).
  33. ^ Br. of Lamparello, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 494 (2015).
  34. ^ Br. of Inst. for Justice, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 345 (2015).
  35. ^ Br. of Google, Inc., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 485 (2015).
  36. ^ Br. of Elec. Privacy Info. Ctr., City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2015 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 492 (2015).
  37. ^ Br. of Love146, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, 2014 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4632 (2015).

External links[edit]