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UNITED STATES v. ZARRA

September 26, 1966

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Ralph Louis ZARRA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOLLMER

 FOLLMER, District Judge.

 Ralph Louis Zarra was the Secretary-Manager of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, located at 429 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the date in question. The Eagles is a private social club, which is open only to members. On the first floor of the Eagles building in Harrisburg, there are two offices in the front of the building, near the entranceway, and a large social room or barroom. On the second floor is a meeting hall, approximately 30 feet by 15 feet, and the secretary's office, which Zarra occupied. There is a storeroom on the third floor. The basement consists of a kitchen and a stock room. (Transcript, pp. 4-6.) *fn1"

 On January 20, 1966, between 8:30 and 9:00 A.M., an arrest warrant was obtained from a United States Commissioner for Zarra. (Transcript, pp. 51-52.) Around 10:00 A.M., on the same day, five F.B.I. agents obtained admission to the Eagles Club by ringing the doorbell, which Zarra answered, and they then requested to talk to him in private (Transcript, pp. 7-8, 30). The agents testified they asked him if he had an office or some private place to talk, and he said, yes, upstairs. (Transcript, p. 32.) The five agents and Zarra went upstairs. On the way up to the second floor, an agent advised Zarra he was being arrested, read the body warrant to him when they reached the second floor, and advised him of his constitutional rights. (Transcript, pp. 9-10, 19, 32-33, 63, 66-67.) After this, Zarra was searched, and everything was returned to him except a check in the amount of $4,200.00, drawn on the Keystone Trust Company, payable to Cash. (Transcript, pp. 10, 34-35.)

 The agents then requested that Zarra open his office, on the second floor, which he did by climbing in through an opening from the stairs leading to the third floor. (Transcript, pp. 10, 37.) This office was searched, but nothing was taken. (Transcript, pp. 12, 37.) During this, two agents went up to the third floor, glanced around, and returned with nothing. (Transcript, pp. 36-37, 64-65.) Then the meeting hall on the second floor was given a quick search, but nothing was taken. (Transcript, pp. 37, 65.) The total time spent doing these things was about fifteen minutes. (Transcript, pp. 38, 65.)

 Zarra and the agents then went downstairs to the first floor. The two offices near the entranceway are Zarra's private offices, and they were locked although an agent testified they were open when they entered the Eagles Club originally. (Transcript, pp. 12, 15, 39-40.) The agents then "demanded" the keys to the offices from Zarra, unlocked the doors and entered these offices. (Transcript, pp. 40, 73, 12.) During the search of these downstairs offices, the rest of the material which is the subject of the instant Motion was seized. This search lasted for approximately thirty minutes. The material that was seized consisted of deposit slips, loan notes, checks, an account booklet, an identi-plate, and similar papers. (Transcript, Exhibit G-1.)

 It is conceded by the Government that the agents did not have a search warrant. (Transcript, p. 11.) It is also clear that Zarra did not consent to the searches by the agents. (Transcript, pp. 12-13, 25, 40.) The issue, therefore, is whether or not this was a valid search incident to an arrest under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

 The remaining articles that were seized were taken downstairs from Zarra's private office. (Transcript, pp. 54-55.) The question that remains is whether this was permissible as a reasonable search, contemporaneous with Zarra's arrest, of premises under his immediate control.

 Several additional facts should be pointed out. After Zarra was arrested he was not allowed out of the presence of the arresting agents. (Transcript, pp. 42, 72.) The arresting agents had discussed the possibility of obtaining a search warrant at the same time they obtained the arrest warrant with an Assistant United States Attorney, but they had decided that they did not have sufficient grounds, because they did not know whether evidence (specifically an account book) still existed, nor where it was located. (Transcript, p. 47.) The account book had been known of since November 4, 1965, when it had been turned over to Zarra by a codefendant. (Transcript, pp. 44, 52.) The search was conducted to find this book and other evidence even though it was not known if the book existed. (Transcript, pp. 44-47, 62-63.) The office on the first floor is marked "Private Office," and is Zarra's private office. (Transcript, p. 23.)

 There is no controversy over the fact that a person's private office is within the word "home" in the Fourth Amendment.

 In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court stated in Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364, 367, 84 S. Ct. 881, 883, 11 L. Ed. 2d 777 (1964), as follows:

 
"It is argued that the search and seizure was justified as incidental to a lawful arrest. Unquestionably, when a person is lawfully arrested, the police have the right, without a search warrant, to make a contemporaneous search of the person of the accused for weapons or for the fruits of or implements used to commit the crime. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 392 [34 S. Ct. 341, 344, 58 L. Ed. 652] (1914); Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 30 [46 S. Ct. 4, 5, 70 L. Ed. 145] (1925). This right to search and seize without a search warrant extends to things under the accused's immediate control, Carroll v. United States, supra, 267 U.S. [132] at 158, [45 S. Ct. 280, 287, 69 L. Ed. 543], and, to an extent depending on the circumstances of the case, to the place where he is arrested, Agnello v. United States, supra, 269 U.S. at 30 [46 S. Ct. at 5, 70 L. Ed. 145]; Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 199 [48 S. Ct. 74, 77, 72 L. Ed. 231] (1927); United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 61-62 [70 S. Ct. 430, 433, 94 L. Ed. 653] (1950). The rule allowing contemporaneous searches is justified, for example, by the need to seize weapons and other things which might be used to assault an officer or effect an escape, as well as by the need to prevent the destruction of evidence of the crime - things which might easily happen where the weapon or evidence is on the accused's person or ...

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