United States v. Drayton, 536 U.S. 194, 10 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 194 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

moved from the front to the rear of the bus, thus obstructing the path to the exit. Id., at 1396.

After its decision in Guapi the Court of Appeals decided United States v. Washington and the instant case. The court suppressed evidence obtained during similar drug interdiction efforts despite the following facts: (1) the officers in both cases conducted the interdiction after the passengers had reboarded the bus; (2) the officer in the present case did not make a general announcement to the entire bus but instead spoke with individual passengers; (3) the officers in both cases were not in uniform; and (4) the officers in both cases questioned passengers as they moved from the rear to the front of the bus and were careful not to obstruct passengers' means of egress from the bus.

Although the Court of Appeals has disavowed a per se requirement, the lack of an explicit warning to passengers is the only element common to all its cases. See Washington, 151 F. 3d, at 1357 ("It seems obvious to us that if police officers genuinely want to ensure that their encounters with bus passengers remain absolutely voluntary, they can simply say so. Without such notice in this case, we do not feel a reasonable person would have felt able to decline the agents' requests"); 231 F. 3d, at 790 (noting that "[t]his case is controlled by" Guapi and Washington, and dismissing any factual differences between the three cases as irrelevant). Under these cases, it appears that the Court of Appeals would suppress any evidence obtained during suspicionless drug interdiction efforts aboard buses in the absence of a warning that passengers may refuse to cooperate. The Court of Appeals erred in adopting this approach.

Applying the Bostick framework to the facts of this particular case, we conclude that the police did not seize respondents when they boarded the bus and began questioning passengers. The officers gave the passengers no reason to believe that they were required to answer the officers' questions. When Officer Lang approached respondents, he


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