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Copyright © 2007, Gerald Bamberger


For many years, the Internal Revenue Service had suspected that Offshor had large sums of money stashed away in a Swiss bank, and was not paying taxes on the substantial income.  The IRS was aware that Edelweiss, Offshor’s banker, would be in New York City for an international banking convention.

While Edelweiss was participating in a panel discussion on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, IRS agents broke into his hotel room.  They found a briefcase, and broke the lock open.  Inside the briefcase were documents linking Offshor to a variety of numbered accounts.

Offshor was prosecuted for tax evasion.  At trial, the government sought to enter into evidence the documents linking Offshor to the numbered accounts.  Should the judge allow these documents into evidence?

(a)     Yes, because an overnight guest has an expectation of privacy in a private home, but not in a hotel room.
(b)     Yes, because Offshor lacks standing to contest the search of Edelweiss.
(c)     No, because the fourth amendment rights of Edelweiss were violated, and Offshor, who has a transactional relationship with Edelweiss and will suffer injury in fact, can vindicate Edelweiss’s fourth amendment right through third party standing.
(d)     No, because Edelweiss was acting as Offshor’s agent, and a principal has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the papers of his agent.


To see Professor Bamberger explain the answer in detail click here





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