Skip to content
Name: Bailey v. United States
Case #: 11-770
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 02/19/2013
Subsequent History: 133 S.Ct. 1031; 185 L.Ed.2d 19

Police may not seize a person incident to the search of his residence when the person is stopped and detained a distance away from the premises to be searched. Police obtained a warrant to search a residence for a gun. Prior to the search, surveillance officers outside the apartment complex observed defendant and another man leave the complex in a car. They followed because both men matched the description of the resident given to them by an informant. Defendant was stopped and detained. They returned to the complex with defendant; by that time, searching officers had located a gun in the residence. Defendant was charged in federal court with gun and drug offenses. His suppression motion was denied and a jury found him guilty. After losing in the lower courts, his certiorari petition was granted. Held: Reversed. In Michigan v. Summers (1981) 452 U.S. 692, the Court permitted officers to detain occupants of a residence while a legal search was being conducted “because the character of the additional intrusion caused by detention is slight and because the justifications for detention are substantial.” Those justifications include: officer safety, facilitating the search, and preventing flight. When he was detained, Bailey had left the premises, was approximately .7 mile away, and posed little risk to officers executing the warrant. His lack of proximity prevented him from interfering with or facilitating the search. Nor did his “flight” potentially damage the integrity of the search. An officer’s authority to detain incident to a search is limited to the immediate vicinity (not further defined) of the place to be searched. Remanded to the Court of Appeals to determine whether Bailey’s detention was a valid Terry stop.