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NYCLU Amicus Curiae Brief: People v. Ibarguen

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in People v. Ibarguen, a case currently on appeal in front of the New York Court of Appeals regarding the Fourth Amendment and the right to protection from unwarranted search and seizure. The NYCLU’s brief advocates for the right for social guests to challenge unlawful searches of their hosts’ homes.

Mr. Ibarguen alleged that he was a dinner guest at his friends’ apartment when the police broke down the hosts’ door and arrested him. However, he was never able to challenge this intrusion because the hearing court held that Mr. Ibarguen, as a short-term social guest, did not have the legal capacity to contest that the search of his friend’s home was unlawful.  

This decision conflicted with two Supreme Court cases, Minnesota v. Olson and Minnesota v. Carter, which held that short-term guests do in fact have standing to challenge police searches of their hosts’ homes.  As Justice Kennedy declared in the concurrence of Carter, “as a general rule, social guests will have an expectation of privacy in their host’s home.”

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