Anna P. Hayes


Imagine a day when the police come knocking at your door: you open the door, and the police ask you if they may conduct a warrantless search of your residence. As any good constitutional law student would, you explain to them that you are well aware of your rights under the Fourth Amendment, and that they should come back with a warrant. Because the dutiful officers believe that you have committed a crime, they arrest you on the spot, rather than obtaining a search warrant for the premises. After arresting you and removing you from the premises the officers then ask your roommate for permission to search the premises—not as well schooled in Fourth Amendment law, your roommate signs over his consent. You protest: “I refused to consent to the search!” you say—“the police can’t ignore my objection!” The Supreme Court in Fernandez v. California recently ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not forbid a search such as the one discussed above. This Comment will discuss the history behind the consent exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, the Fernandez decision, and its implications for future police activity.