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Abandoning Places

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 77 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2008 Pages: 22-32
Jayme W. Holcomb J.D., Ed.D.
Date Published
October 2008
11 pages
This article examines legal issues associated with the abandonment of physical locations.
In addition to a detailed discussion of legal issues associated with the abandonment of locations, this paper addresses the fourth amendment concept of a reasonable expectation of privacy and issues of disclaimer associated with a particular location and the physical relinquishment of a location. It is noted in the background provided on search and seizure that the burden rests on the government to prove the location is abandoned and that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the area. Location abandonment situations are noted to require close examination of the two primary issues of disclaimers and the physical relinquishment of a location. A case from the eighth circuit is presented in brief to illustrate considerations regarding the issue of denial or disclaimer of a location. A detailed discussion is provided, again citing various U.S. Courts of Appeal, to illustrate the concept of physical relinquishment. Considerations include lease expiration, physical relinquishment prior to lease expiration, and the impact of arrest on cases involving searches of hotel rooms. The article concludes with factors for law enforcement to consider in these situations, and the need to look at the totality of circumstances in determining whether a location has been abandoned. 68 notes