Payton v. New York

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Payton v. New York
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 26, 1979
Reargued October 9, 1979
Decided April 15, 1980
Full case name Theodore Payton Petitoner-Plaintiff v. The State of New York et al. Defendant-Respondent
Citations 445 U.S. 573 (more)
445 U.S. 573
The Fourth Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits the police from making a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect's home in order to make a routine felony arrest.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun · Lewis F. Powell Jr.
William Rehnquist · John P. Stevens
Case opinions
Majority Stevens, joined by Brennan, Stewart, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell
Concurrence Blackmun
Dissent White, joined by Burger, Rehnquist
Dissent Rehnquist
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. IV

Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980) was a United States Supreme Court case concerning warrantless entry into a private home in order to make a felony arrest. The Court struck down a New York statute providing for such warrantless entries because the Fourth Amendment draws a firm line at the entrance to the house. Absent exigent circumstances, that threshold may not be reasonably crossed without a warrant. The court, however, did specify that an arrest warrant (as opposed to a search warrant) would have sufficed for entry into the suspect's residence if there had been reason to believe that the suspect was within the home.

Payton and related case law establish that the principle that a person in a home, particularly his or her own, is entitled Fourth Amendment protections not afforded to persons in automobiles, as per Whren v. United States, or to persons in public, as per United States v. Watson.


Theodore Payton of New York City was suspected of murdering an employee of a gas station in the city. Thinking Payton was home, the New York City police "forcibly entered Payton's home." Payton was in fact not home, and the police gathered evidence from his home connecting him to the murder of the gas station attendant. The police acted under a New York law "allowing police to enter a private residence to make a felony arrest without a warrant." At his trial, Payton was unable to have the evidence thrown out, and his conviction was upheld at the appellate level. The judge noted that the police entering Payton's house was "authorized by the New York law" and therefore was permissible.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Payton v. New York - 445 U.S. 573 (1980)". Oyez: Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gordon, Peter J. (1978). "The Constitutionality of Warrantless Home Arrests". Columbia Law Review. 78 (7): 1550–1567. doi:10.2307/1121875. JSTOR 1121875. 
  • McFarland, J. M. (1980). "Payton v. New York—The Last Word on Warrantless Home Arrests?". UMKC Law Review. 49: 232. ISSN 0047-7575. 
  • Segal, Jeffrey A. (1986). "Supreme Court Justices as Human Decision Makers: An Individual-Level Analysis of the Search and Seizure Cases". The Journal of Politics. 48 (4): 938–955. doi:10.2307/2131006. JSTOR 2131006. 

External links[edit]

  • Text of Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia  LII