Sample Essay on Case Brief

Capsule summary

Police officers from a special unit investigating marijuana found the controlled substance growing within a mile of a person’s home. They entered the marijuana farm with a sign warning trespassers. The man near the field was sued for farming a controlled substance. He alleged violation of his rights as provided by the fourth amendment.


This was a case that arose after the police went to investigate an issue surrounding the farming of marijuana in a certain location. Marijuana is a controlled substance in the United States. On arrival, they saw a “no trespassing sign”. They however got their way around the entrance and went into the farm for couple of yards. One hundred yards inside the farm, they were warned by a voice that hunting was prohibited in the area around the farm. On trying to locate the voice, the officers were not successful. A mile away, the officers came across the marijuana farm. The farm was near the petitioner’s home. A subsequent arrest was made and charges preferred. He was charged for the manufacture of a manufactured substance. The district court however ruled in favor of the petitioner and held that it was an open field beyond control of Oliver. The sixth court however reversed that decision and granted certiorari


Was it a violation of the law to live within a certain proximate distance from a marijuana farm and does it makes an individual nearby culpable for the crime? Was the government in violation of Oliver’s fourth amendment rights and does this amendment protect one from unreasonable searches and seizing of property in open fields?


According to the court’s decision, open fields are not accorded the protection of the fourth amendment, as it would have violated the rights of Oliver. It would have been the case with cartilage or open fields. Therefore, it is not reasonable to accord such to private fields and hold the petitioner liable. The court also held that where the fields are accessible to the public, the no trespassing sign is normally not very effective in deterring people and therefore it had no much significance. Open fields can also not be shielded from the government of police because they can still be accessed by air using planes. The court observed that the respondent’s privacy was not violated because the field was not within his privacy and the police had the right to access without a warrant


As it is a common law tradition in common law, it would have been an injustice and a violation of the fourth amendment to accord open fields protection. There is no much privacy on open fields that may not be within the control of an individual. The test to prove a crime is too high not to violate an individual’s rights. The police would therefore be seen as intruders.


Emphasis was laid on the protection of an individual’s fourth amendment rights and the threshold of finding an individual culpability in such scenarios (Cretacci 177). The court was also able to clarify on the open field’s theory. The court made it clear that privacy is only that that closely surrounds an individual.

The issue of warrants and their significance was highlighted. Warrants do not need to be taken to access open fields that are not in the privacy of an individual.

 Work Cited

Cretacci, Michael A.  Supreme Court Case Briefs in Criminal Procedures. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007. Prin