United States v. Hawkins – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Hawkins (11th Cir. 1982) 681 F.2d 1343, the defendant denied owning a suitcase at the time of search. At the suppression hearing, he claimed he owned it and had an expectation of privacy in it. ( United States v. Hawkins, supra, 681 F.2d 1343, 1344.)

The court held he could not assert a Fourth Amendment claim: "Because an assertion of ownership is not, by itself, dispositive of the right to claim the protection of the fourth amendment, it follows that a disclaimer of ownership, while indeed strong indication that a defendant does not expect the article to be free from government intrusion, is not necessarily the hallmark for deciding the substance of a fourth amendment claim. Hawkins' unsolicited and violent protests that he knew nothing about the woman or the suitcase are so inconsistent with a claim of privacy interest in the suitcase that he cannot later successfully assert that claim." ( United States v. Hawkins, supra, 681 F.2d 1343, 1346.)