CACI No. 3022. Unreasonable Search - Search With a Warrant - Essential Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3022.Unreasonable Search - Search With a Warrant - Essential
Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] carried out an
unreasonable search of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun]
[person/home/automobile/office/[insert other]]. To establish this claim,
[name of plaintiff] must prove the following:
1. That [name of defendant] searched [name of plaintiff]’s [person/
home/automobile/office/[insert other]];
2. That [name of defendant]’s search was unreasonable;
3. That [name of defendant] was acting or purporting to act in the
performance of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] official duties;
4. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and
5. That [name of defendant]’s unreasonable search was a substantial
factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
In deciding whether the search was unreasonable, you should consider,
among other factors, the following:
(a) The scope of the warrant;
(b) The extent of the particular intrusion;
(c) The place in which the search was conducted; [and]
(d) The manner in which the search was conducted; [and]
(e) [Insert other applicable factor].
New September 2003; Renumbered from CACI No. 3002 December 2012; Revised
November 2017
Directions for Use
The “official duties” referred to in element 3 must be duties created pursuant to any
state, county, or municipal law, ordinance, or regulation. This aspect of color of law
most likely will not be an issue for the jury, so it has been omitted to shorten the
wording of element 3.
This instruction may be modified to assert a claim for an unreasonable detention
while a search warrant is being executed by referencing the detention in elements 2
and 5, in the sentence introducing the factors, and in factor (d). Additional factors
relevant to the reasonableness of the detention should be included under factor (e).
(See Davis v. United States (9th Cir. 2017) 854 F.3d 594, 599.)
Sources and Authority
“The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to
the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, provides: ‘The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the
place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ (Conway v.
Pasadena Humane Society (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 163, 171 [52 Cal.Rptr.2d 777],
internal citation omitted.)
“Excessive or unnecessary destruction of property in the course of a search may
violate the Fourth Amendment, even though the entry itself is lawful and the
fruits of the search not subject to suppression.” (U.S. v. Ramirez (1998) 523 U.S.
65, 71 [118 S.Ct. 992, 140 L.Ed.2d 191.)
‘The test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of
precise definition or mechanical application. In each case it requires a balancing
of the need for the particular search against the invasion of personal rights that
the search entails. Courts must consider the scope of the particular intrusion, the
manner in which it is conducted, the justification for initiating it, and the place
in which it is conducted.’ (Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v. County
of Sacramento (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 1468, 1477 [59 Cal.Rptr.2d 834], internal
citation omitted.)
‘[T]he Fourth Amendment proscribes only “unreasonable” searches and
seizures.’ The reasonableness of a search or seizure depends ‘not only on when
[it] is made, but also how it is carried out.’ ‘In other words, even when
supported by probable cause, a search or seizure may be invalid if carried out in
an unreasonable fashion.’ (Cameron v. Craig (9th Cir. 2013) 713 F.3d 1012,
1021, original italics, internal citation omitted.)
“Under the Fourth Amendment, ‘a warrant to search for contraband founded on
probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to detain the
occupants of the premises while a proper search is conducted.’ Nevertheless,
‘special circumstances, or possibly a prolonged detention, might lead to a
different conclusion in an unusual case.’ For instance, search-related detentions
that are ‘unnecessarily painful [or] degrading’ and ‘lengthy detentions[] of the
elderly, or of children, or of individuals suffering from a serious illness or
disability raise additional concerns.’ Thus, a ‘seizure must be “carefully tailored’
to the law enforcement interests that . . . justify detention while a search
warrant is being executed.’ (Davis, supra, 854 F.3d at p. 599, internal citations
“The Supreme Court has interpreted the phrase ‘under “color” of law’ to mean
‘under “pretense” of law.’ A police officer’s actions are under pretense of law
only if they are ‘in some way “related to the performance of his official
duties.’ By contrast, an officer who is “pursuing his own goals and is not in
any way subject to control by [his public employer],’ does not act under color
of law, unless he ‘purports or pretends’ to do so. Officers who engage in
confrontations for personal reasons unrelated to law enforcement, and do not
‘purport[] or pretend[]’ to be officers, do not act under color of law.” (Huffman v.
County of Los Angeles (9th Cir. 1998) 147 F.3d 1054, 1058, internal citations
“[P]rivate parties ordinarily are not subject to suit under section 1983, unless,
sifting the circumstances of the particular case, the state has so significantly
involved itself in the private conduct that the private parties may fairly be
termed state actors. Among the factors considered are whether the state
subsidized or heavily regulated the conduct, or compelled or encouraged the
particular conduct, whether the private actor was performing a function which
normally is performed exclusively by the state, and whether there was a
symbiotic relationship rendering the conduct joint state action.” (Robbins v.
Hamburger Home for Girls (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 671, 683 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d
534], internal citations omitted.)
“Private parties act under color of state law if they willfully participate in joint
action with state officials to deprive others of constitutional rights. Private parties
involved in such a conspiracy may be liable under section 1983.” (United
Steelworkers of America v. Phelps Dodge Corp. (9th Cir. 1989) 865 F.2d 1539,
1540, internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Constitutional Law, §§ 888,
892 et seq.
3 Civil Rights Actions, Ch. 10, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of State
Law - Law Enforcement and Prosecution, 10.04 (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 113, Civil Rights: The Post-Civil
War Civil Rights Statutes, § 113.14 (Matthew Bender)

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