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STANFORD V. TEXAS, 379 U. S. 476 (1965)

U.S. Supreme Court

Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476 (1965)

Stanford v. Texas

No. 40

Argued November 12, 1964

Decided January 18, 1965

379 U.S. 476


Pursuant to a Texas statute, a district judge issued a warrant describing petitioner's home and authorizing the search and seizure there of

"books, records, pamphlets, cards, receipts, lists, memoranda, pictures, recordings and other written instruments concerning the Communist Party of Texas."

Officers conducted a search for more than four hours, seizing more than 2,000 items, including stock in trade of petitioner's business and personal books, papers, and documents, but no "records of the Communist Party" or any "party lists and dues payments." Petitioner filed a motion with the magistrate who issued the warrant to have it annulled and the property returned, but the motion was denied.

Held: the protections of the Fourth Amendment are by the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed against invasion by the States, and the States may not constitutionally issue general warrants which do not describe with particularity the things to be seized, a requirement of the most scrupulous exactitude where the seizure also impinges upon First Amendment freedoms. Pp. 379 U. S. 480-486.

Order vacated and cause remanded.

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