This note explores the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Muehler v. Mena that extended the holding in Michigan v. Summers that allows police officers to handcuff and question occupants of a house who are lawfully being detained during the execution of a valid search warrant. First, the note examines the facts behind the Mena case itself. Second, the note explores the historical developments in Fourth Amendments jurisprudence that led up to the Mena decision. This section of the note focuses on the following five main topics: (1) the creation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) the evolution of the standard that governs a limited seizure of a person; (3) the jurisprudence of excessive force claims against law enforcement officials; (4) the amount of police questioning that constitutes a limited seizure of a person; and (5) the amount of time that a limited seizure of a person may last. This note then explores the reasoning that the majority used in Mena to rationalize it holding. Finally, this note considers the significance of this case, suggesting that the bright-line rule created in Mena may have both positive and negative consequences, that the majority's analysis was incomplete, and that the case left many questions unanswered.
Ryan J. Caststeel,
Constitutional Law—Fourth Amendment and Search and Seizure—Introducing the Supreme Court's New and Improved Summers Detention: Now Equipped with Handcuffing and Questioning! Muehler v. Mena, 544 U.S. 93 (2005),
29 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 379
Available at: https://lawrepository.ualr.edu/lawreview/vol29/iss2/6