The Fourth Amendment usually requires police to strongly suspect an individual has committed a crime before he can be detained. But the court in 1981 ruled in Michigan v. Summers that police could detain people without suspicion during a search to keep them from doing harm to officers, keep them from fleeing and allowing them to, for example, open a door instead of having the police bash it in.
Kennedy said none of the concerns present in the court's 1981 case justified Bailey's detention. "The categorical authority to detain incident to the execution of a search warrant must be limited to the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched," he said. To do otherwise gives the police too much discretion, Kennedy said.
In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said he would have upheld lower court rulings in favor of the police "in light of the risks of flight, of evidence destruction, and of human injury present in this and similar cases." Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas joined Breyer's dissent.
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