The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of an individual to be free in his person and effects from unreasonable search and seizure. The drafters of the provision had fresh memories of the disregard for their individual liberties and sought to place definite restrictions on the activity of government officials. Their fear of the general warrant prompted them to further provide that any warrant be issued only upon probable cause determined by a magistrate and limited in scope. The interpretation of the mandate of the amendment has been that all searches conducted without a warrant issued in strict compliance with its provision are unreasonable per se. However, this general prohibition is tempered by well defined exceptions, which, because of "exigent circumstances," bring them within the general provisions of the Constitution.
Search and Seizure- The Inventory Search of an Automobile,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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