United States v. Hall, 47 F.3d 1091 (11th Cir. 1995)

  1. What was the Court of Appeal’s decision?

In the U.S. v. Hall, 47 F.3d 1091 (11th Cir. 1995), the Court of Appeal ruled that Hall conducted an infringement, thus liable for conviction. The sentencing happens within the statutory limits of the crime. Hall had conspired with Iran, an ‘enemy’ of the United States. The Court of Appeal argued that the detective that found a bag of ripped documents that provided crucial evidence broke no law. The government contended that Bet-Air’s subjective expectation of privacy in its garbage was not objectively reasonable because the company failed to take any step to limit public access to the dumpster.

  1. Was the search and seizure a violation of the Fourth Amendment? Why or why not?

The Fourth Amendment states that people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures (Loewy, 1983). From this deliberation, the detective’s search arguably did not disrupt the peaceful coexistence within Bet-Air premises, besides the fact that the garbage collection was not labeled as private. Bet-Air did not take any measures to secure its premises from public access. As a result, anyone would gain access to this place hence the seizure was justified.

  1. Would the result have been different if the dumpster was on private property rather than on commercial property?

Yes, the results would have been different if the dumpster was on private property. The Fourth Amendment would apply in this case, and as a result, Terrence Hall would not be convicted or would face a lesser charge without the consideration of the documents obtained from the garbage. The Fourth Amendment protects people from forceful searches on private property.

  1. Suppose you were an executive at Bet-Air. What recommendations would you make to help Bet-Air assert an expectation of privacy in the dumpster?

From a Bet-Air executive’s perspective, it would be prudent to describe the markers showing the extent of privacy on the Bet-Air property. As an executive, it would be necessary to stipulate that the dumpster was the company’s property by providing evidence of a serial number of the garbage cans, vehicle registration numbers of garbage collectors, personnel involved, and the payment made to the garbage collection agency.


Loewy, A. H. (1983). The Fourth Amendment as a device for protecting the innocent. Michigan Law Review81(5), 1229. https://doi.org/10.2307/1288524

United States v. Terrence Hall, 47 F.3d 1091 (11th Cir. 1995) (https://casetext.com/case/us-v-hall-236 1995).