Cite as: 536 U. S. 194 (2002)
Opinion of the Court
(plurality opinion); see id., at 523, n. 3 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting); Florida v. Rodriguez, 469 U. S. 1, 5-6 (1984) (per curiam) (holding that such interactions in airports are "the sort of consensual encounter[s] that implicat[e] no Fourth Amendment interest"). Even when law enforcement officers have no basis for suspecting a particular individual, they may pose questions, ask for identification, and request consent to search luggage—provided they do not induce cooperation by coercive means. See Florida v. Bostick, 501 U. S., at 434-435 (citations omitted). If a reasonable person would feel free to terminate the encounter, then he or she has not been seized.
The Court has addressed on a previous occasion the specific question of drug interdiction efforts on buses. In Bos-tick, two police officers requested a bus passenger's consent to a search of his luggage. The passenger agreed, and the resulting search revealed cocaine in his suitcase. The Florida Supreme Court suppressed the cocaine. In doing so it adopted a per se rule that due to the cramped confines on-board a bus the act of questioning would deprive a person of his or her freedom of movement and so constitute a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.
This Court reversed. Bostick first made it clear that for the most part per se rules are inappropriate in the Fourth Amendment context. The proper inquiry necessitates a consideration of "all the circumstances surrounding the encounter." Id., at 439. The Court noted next that the traditional rule, which states that a seizure does not occur so long as a reasonable person would feel free "to disregard the police and go about his business," California v. Hodari D., 499 U. S. 621, 628 (1991), is not an accurate measure of the coercive effect of a bus encounter. A passenger may not want to get off a bus if there is a risk it will depart before the opportunity to reboard. Bostick, 501 U. S., at 434-436. A bus rider's movements are confined in this sense, but this is the natural result of choosing to take the bus; it says noth-
201Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007