U.S. Supreme Court
SOLDAL v. COOK COUNTY, 506 U.S. 56 (1992)
506 U.S. 56
SOLDAL, ET UX. v. COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE
Argued October 5, 1992
Decided December 8, 1992
While eviction proceedings were pending, Terrace Properties and Margaret
Hale forcibly evicted petitioners, the Soldal family, and their mobile home
from a Terrace Properties' mobile home park. At Hale's request, Cook County,
Illinois, Sheriff's Department deputies were present at the eviction. Although
they knew that there was no eviction order and that Terrace Properties' actions
were illegal, the deputies refused to take Mr. Soldal's complaint for criminal
trespass or otherwise interfere with the eviction. Subsequently, the state
judge assigned to the pending eviction proceedings ruled that the eviction had
been unauthorized, and the trailer, badly damaged during the eviction, was
returned to the lot. Petitioners brought an action in the Federal District
Court under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming that Terrace Properties and Hale had
conspired with the deputy sheriffs to unreasonably seize and remove their home
in violation of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court granted
defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.
Acknowledging that what had occurred was a "seizure" in the literal sense of
the word, the court reasoned that it was not a seizure as contemplated by the
Fourth Amendment because, inter alia, it did not invade petitioners' privacy.
The seizure and removal of the trailer home implicated petitioners'
Fourth Amendment rights. Pp. 61-72.
(a) A "seizure" of property occurs when "there is some meaningful
interference with an individual's possessory interests in that property."
United States v. Jacobsen,
U.S. 109, 113 . The language of the Fourth Amendment - which protects
people from unreasonable searches and seizures of "their persons, houses,
papers, and effects" - cuts against the novel holding below, and this Court's
cases unmistakably hold that the Amendment protects property even where privacy
or liberty is not implicated. See, e.g., ibid.; Katz v. United States,
U.S. 347, 350 . This Court's "plain view" decisions also make untenable the
lower court's construction of the Amendment. If the Amendment's boundaries were
defined exclusively by rights of privacy, "plain view" seizures, rather than
being scrupulously subjected to Fourth Amendment inquiry, Arizona v. Hicks,
U.S. 321, 326 -327, would not implicate that constitutional provision at
all. Contrary to the Court of Appeals'
[506 U.S. 56, 57] position, the Amendment protects
seizure even though no search within its meaning has taken place. See, e.g.,
Jacobsen, supra, at 120-125. Also contrary to that court's view, Graham v.
U.S. 386 , does not require a court, when it finds that a wrong implicates
more than one constitutional command, to look at the dominant character of the
challenged conduct to determine under which constitutional standard it should
be evaluated. Rather, each constitutional provision is examined in turn. See,
e.g., Hudson v. Palmer,
U.S. 517 . Pp. 61-71.
(b) The instant decision should not foment a wave of new litigation in
the federal courts. Activities such as repossessions or attachments, if they
involve entering a home, intruding on individuals' privacy, or interfering with
their liberty, would implicate the Fourth Amendment even on the Court of
Appeals' own terms. And numerous seizures of this type will survive
constitutional scrutiny on "reasonableness" grounds. Moreover, it is unlikely
that the police will often choose to further an enterprise knowing that it is
contrary to the law, or proceed to seize property in the absence of objectively
reasonable grounds for doing so. Pp. 71-72.
942 F.2d 1073, reversed and remanded.
WHITE, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
John L. Stainthorp argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioners.
Kenneth L. Gillis argued the cause for respondents. With him on the
brief were Jack O'Malley, Renee G. Goldfarb, and Kenneth T. McCurry.
[ Footnote *] James D. Holzhauer, Timothy S.
Bishop, John A. Powell, Steven R. Shapiro, Harvey M. Grossman, and Alan K. Chen
filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. as amici curiae
Richard Ruda, Carter G. Phillips, Mark D. Hopson, and Mark E. Haddad
filed a brief for the National League of Cities et al. as amici curiae urging
JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
Edward Soldal and his family resided in their trailer home, which was
located on a rented lot in the Willoway Terrace mobile
[506 U.S. 56, 58]
home park in Elk Grove, Illinois. In May 1987, Terrace Properties, the owner of
the park, and Margaret Hale, its manager, filed an eviction proceeding against
the Soldals in an Illinois state court. Under the Illinois Forcible Entry and
Detainer Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 110, 9-101 et seq. (1991), a tenant cannot
be dispossessed absent a judgment of eviction. The suit was dismissed on June
2, 1987. A few months later, in August 1987, the owner brought a second
proceeding of eviction, claiming nonpayment of rent. The case was set for trial
on September 22, 1987.
Rather than await judgment in their favor, Terrace Properties and Hale,
contrary to Illinois law, chose to evict the Soldals forcibly two weeks prior
to the scheduled hearing. On September 4, Hale notified the Cook County's
Sheriff's Department that she was going to remove the trailer home from the
park, and requested the presence of sheriff deputies to forestall any possible
resistance. Later that day, two Terrace Properties employees arrived at the
Soldals' home accompanied by Cook County Deputy Sheriff O'Neil. The employees
proceeded to wrench the sewer and water connections off the side of the trailer
home, disconnect the phone, tear off the trailer's canopy and skirting, and
hook the home to a tractor. Meanwhile, O'Neil explained to Edward Soldal that
"`he was there to see that [Soldal] didn't interfere with [Willoway's] work.'"
Brief for Petitioner 6.
By this time, two more deputy sheriffs had arrived at the scene, and
Soldal told them that he wished to file a complaint for criminal trespass. They
referred him to deputy Lieutenant Jones, who was in Hale's office. Jones asked
Soldal to wait outside while he remained closeted with Hale and other Terrace
Properties employees for over 20 minutes. After talking to a district attorney
and making Soldal wait another half hour, Jones told Soldal that he would not
accept a complaint because "`it was between the landlord and the tenant ...
[and] they were going to go ahead and continue to move
[506 U.S. 56, 59] out
the trailer.'" Id., at 8. 1 Throughout this period,
the deputy sheriffs knew that Terrace Properties did not have an eviction order
and that its actions were unlawful. Eventually, and in the presence of an
additional two deputy sheriffs, the Willoway workers pulled the trailer free of
its moorings and towed it onto the street. Later, it was hauled to a
On September 9, the state judge assigned to the pending eviction
proceedings ruled that the eviction had been unauthorized, and ordered Terrace
Properties to return the Soldals' home to the lot. The home, however, was badly
damaged.  The Soldals brought this
action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging a violation of their rights under the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. They claimed that Terrace Properties and Hale
had conspired with Cook County deputy sheriffs to unreasonably seize and remove
the Soldals' trailer home. The District Judge granted defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the grounds that the Soldals had failed to adduce any
evidence to support their conspiracy theory and, therefore, the existence of
state action necessary under 1983. 
The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, construing the facts in
petitioners' favor, accepted their contention that there was state action.
However, it went on to hold that [506 U.S. 56, 60] the removal of the Soldals' trailer did
not constitute a seizure for purposes of the Fourth Amendment or a deprivation
of due process for purposes of the Fourteenth.
On rehearing, a majority of the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc,
reaffirmed the panel decision. 
Acknowledging that what had occurred was a "seizure" in the literal sense of
the word, the court reasoned that, because it was not made in the course of
public law enforcement, and because it did not invade the Soldals' privacy, it
was not a seizure as contemplated by the Fourth Amendment. 942 F.2d 1073, 1076
(1991). Interpreting prior cases of this Court, the Seventh Circuit concluded
that, absent interference with privacy or liberty, a "pure deprivation of
property" is not cognizable under the Fourth Amendment. Id., at 1078-1079.
Rather, petitioners' property interests were protected only by the Due Process
Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. 
We granted certiorari to consider whether the seizure and removal of the
Soldals' trailer home implicated their Fourth Amendment rights,
U.S. 918 (1992), and now reverse.  [506 U.S. 56, 61]
The Fourth Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth,
Ker v. California,
U.S. 23, 30 (1963), provides in pertinent part that the "right of the
people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated... ."
A "seizure" of property, we have explained, occurs when "there is some
meaningful interference with an individual's possessory interests in that
property." United States v. Jacobsen,
U.S. 109, 113 (1984). In addition, we have emphasized that "at the very
core" of the Fourth Amendment "stands the right of a man to retreat into his
own home." Silverman v. United States,
U.S. 505, 511 (1961). See also Oliver v. United States,
U.S. 170, 178 -179 (1984); Wyman v. James,
U.S. 309, 316 (1971); Payton v. New York,
U.S. 573, 601 (1980).
As a result of the state action in this case, the Soldals' domicile was
not only seized, it literally was carried away, giving new meaning to the term
"mobile home." We fail to see how being unceremoniously dispossessed of one's
home in the manner alleged to have occurred here can be viewed as anything but
a seizure invoking the protection of the Fourth Amendment. Whether the
Amendment was in fact [506 U.S.
56, 62] violated is, of course, a different question that requires
determining if the seizure was reasonable. That inquiry entails the weighing of
various factors, and is not before us.
The Court if Appeals recognized that there had been a seizure, but
concluded that it was a seizure only in a "technical" sense, not within the
meaning of the Fourth Amendment. This conclusion followed from a narrow reading
of the Amendment, which the court construed to safeguard only privacy and
liberty interests, while leaving unprotected possessory interests where neither
privacy nor liberty was at stake. Otherwise, the court said,
"a constitutional provision enacted two centuries ago [would] make
every repossession and eviction with police assistance actionable under - of
all things - the Fourth Amendment[, which] would both trivialize the amendment
and gratuitously shift a large body of routine commercial litigation from the
state courts to the federal courts. That trivializing, this shift, can be
prevented by recognizing the difference between possessory and privacy
interests." 942 F.2d, at 1077.
Because the officers had not entered Soldal's house, rummaged through
his possessions, or, in the Court of Appeals' view, interfered with his liberty
in the course of the eviction, the Fourth Amendment offered no protection
against the "grave deprivation" of property that had occurred. Ibid.
We do not agree with this interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. The
Amendment protects the people from unreasonable searches and seizures of "their
persons, houses, papers, and effects." This language surely cuts against the
novel holding below, and our cases unmistakably hold that the Amendment
protects property as well as privacy.  This much
[506 U.S. 56, 63] was made clear in Jacobsen, supra,
where we explained that the first Clause of the Fourth Amendment
"protects two types of expectations, one involving "searches," the
other "seizures." A "search" occurs when an expectation of privacy that society
is prepared to consider reasonable is infringed. A "seizure" of property occurs
where there is some meaningful interference with an individual's possessory
interests in that property."
U.S., at 113 (footnote omitted).
See also id., at 120; Horton v. California,
U.S. 128, 133 (1990); Arizona v. Hicks,
U.S. 321, 328 (1987); Maryland v. Macon,
U.S. 463, 469 (1985); Texas v. Brown,
U.S. 730, 747 -748 (1983) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment); United
States v. Salvucci,
U.S. 83, 91 , n. 6 (1980). Thus, having concluded that chemical testing of
powder found in a package did not compromise its owner's privacy, the Court in
Jacobsen did not put an end to its inquiry, as would be required under the view
adopted by the Court of Appeals and advocated by respondents. Instead, adhering
to the teachings of United States v. Place,
U.S. 696 (1983), it went on to determine whether the invasion of the
owners' "possessory interests" occasioned by the destruction of the powder was
reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Jacobsen, supra, at 124-125. In Place,
although we found that subjecting luggage to a "dog sniff" did not constitute a
search for Fourth Amendment purposes because it did not compromise any privacy
interest, taking custody of Place's suitcase was deemed an unlawful seizure,
for it unreasonably infringed "the suspect's possessory interest in his
U.S., at 708 . 8 Although lacking a privacy
component, the property rights in both instances nonetheless were not
[506 U.S. 56, 64]
disregarded, but rather were afforded Fourth Amendment protection.
Respondents rely principally on precedents such as Katz v. United
U.S. 347 (1967), Warden, Maryland Penitentiary v. Hayden,
U.S. 294 (1967), and Cardwell v. Lewis,
U.S. 583 (1974), to demonstrate that the Fourth Amendment is only
marginally concerned with property rights. But the message of those cases is
that property rights are not the sole measure of Fourth Amendment violations.
The Warden opinion thus observed, citing Jones v. United States,
U.S. 257 (1960), and Silverman v. United States,
U.S. 505 (1961), that the "principal" object of the Amendment is the
protection of privacy, rather than property, and that "this shift in emphasis
from property to privacy has come about through a subtle interplay of
substantive and procedural reform."
U.S., at 304 . There was no suggestion that this shift in emphasis had
snuffed out the previously recognized protection for property under the Fourth
Amendment. Katz, in declaring violative of the Fourth Amendment the unwarranted
overhearing of a telephone booth conversation, effectively ended any lingering
notions that the protection of privacy depended on trespass into a protected
area. In the course of its decision, the Katz Court stated that the Fourth
Amendment can neither be translated into a provision dealing with
constitutionally protected areas nor into a general constitutional right to
privacy. The Amendment, the Court said, protects individual privacy against
certain kinds of governmental intrusion, "but its protections go further, and
often have nothing to do with privacy at all."
U.S., at 350 .
As for Cardwell, a plurality of this Court held in that case that the
Fourth Amendment did not bar the use in evidence of paint scrapings taken from
and tire treads observed on the defendant's automobile, which had been seized
in a parking lot and towed to a police lockup. Gathering this evidence was not
deemed to be a search, for nothing from the
[506 U.S. 56, 65] interior of the car and "no personal
effects, which the Fourth Amendment traditionally has been deemed to protect"
were searched or seized.
U.S., at 591 (opinion of BLACKMUN, J.). No meaningful privacy rights were
invaded. But this left the argument, pressed by the dissent, that the evidence
gathered was the product of a warrantless, and hence illegal, seizure of the
car from the parking lot where the defendant had left it. However, the
plurality was of the view that, because, under the circumstances of the case,
there was probable cause to seize the car as an instrumentality of the crime,
Fourth Amendment precedent permitted the seizure without a warrant. Id., at
593. Thus, both the plurality and dissenting Justices considered the
defendant's auto deserving of Fourth Amendment protection even though privacy
interests were not at stake. They differed only in the degree of protection
that the Amendment demanded.
The Court of Appeals appeared to find more specific support for
confining the protection of the Fourth Amendment to privacy interests in our
decision in Hudson v. Palmer,
U.S. 517 (1984). There, a state prison inmate sued, claiming that prison
guards had entered his cell without consent and had seized and destroyed some
of his personal effects. We ruled that an inmate, because of his status,
enjoyed neither a right to privacy in his cell nor protection against
unreasonable seizures of his personal effects. Id., at 526-528, and n. 8; id.,
at 538 (O'CONNOR, J., concurring). Whatever else the case held, it is of
limited usefulness outside the prison context with respect to the coverage of
the Fourth Amendment.
We thus are unconvinced that any of the Court's prior cases supports the
view that the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable seizures of
property only where privacy or liberty is also implicated. What is more, our
"plain view" decisions make untenable such a construction of the Amendment.
Suppose, for example, that police officers lawfully enter a house, by either
complying with the warrant requirement or satisfying one of its recognized
exceptions - [506 U.S. 56, 66]
e.g., through a valid consent or a showing of exigent
circumstances. If they come across some item in plain view and seize it, no
invasion of personal privacy has occurred. Horton,
U.S., at 133 -134; Brown, supra, at 739 (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.). If the
boundaries of the Fourth Amendment were defined exclusively by rights of
privacy, "plain view" seizures would not implicate that constitutional
provision at all. Yet, far from being automatically upheld, "plain view"
seizures have been scrupulously subjected to Fourth Amendment inquiry. Thus, in
the absence of consent or a warrant permitting the seizure of the items in
question, such seizures can be justified only if they meet the probable-cause
standard, Arizona v. Hicks,
U.S. 321, 326 -327 (1987), 9 and if they are
unaccompanied by unlawful trespass, Horton,
U.S., at 136 -137. 10 That is because, the
absence of a privacy interest notwithstanding, "[a] seizure of the article ...
would obviously invade the owner's possessory interest." Id., at 134; see also
U.S., at 739 (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.). The plain-view doctrine "merely
reflects an application of the Fourth Amendment's central requirement of
reasonableness to the law governing seizures of property." Ibid.; Coolidge v.
U.S. 443, 468 (1971); id., at 516 (WHITE, J., concurring and dissenting).
The Court of Appeals understandably found it necessary to reconcile its
holding with our recognition in the plain-view cases that the Fourth Amendment
protects property as such. In so doing, the court did not distinguish this case
on the ground that the seizure of the Soldals' home took place in a
[506 U.S. 56, 67]
noncriminal context. Indeed, it acknowledged what is evident from our
precedents - that the Amendment's protection applies in the civil context as
well. See O'Connor v. Ortega,
U.S. 709 (1987); New Jersey v. T.L.O.,
U.S. 325, 334 -335 (1985); Michigan v. Tyler,
U.S. 499, 504 -506 (1978); Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc.,
U.S. 307, 312 -313 (1978); Camara v. Municipal Court of San Francisco,
U.S. 523, 528 (1967). 11
Nor did the Court of Appeals suggest that the Fourth Amendment applied
exclusively to law enforcement activities. It observed, for example, that the
Amendment's protection would be triggered "by a search or other entry into the
home incident to an eviction or repossession," 942 F.2d, at 1077.
12 Instead, the court sought to explain why the
Fourth Amendment protects against seizures of property in the plain-view
context, but not in this case, as follows:
"[S]eizures made in the course of investigations by police or other
law enforcement officers are almost always, as in the plain view cases, the
culmination of searches. The police search in order to seize, and it is the
search [506 U.S. 56, 68]
and ensuing seizure that the Fourth Amendment, by its reference to
"searches and seizures," seeks to regulate. Seizure means one thing when it is
the outcome of a search; it may mean something else when it stands apart from a
search or any other investigative activity. The Fourth Amendment may still
nominally apply, but, precisely because there is no invasion of privacy, the
usual rules do not apply." Id., at 1079 (emphasis in original).
We have difficulty with this passage. The court seemingly construes the
Amendment to protect only against seizures that are the outcome of a search.
But our cases are to the contrary, and hold that seizures of property are
subject to Fourth Amendment scrutiny even though no search within the meaning
of the Amendment has taken place. See, e.g., Jacobsen,
U.S., at 120 -125; Place,
U.S., at 706 -707; Cardwell,
U.S., at 588 -589. 13 More generally, an
officer who happens to come across an individual's property in a public area
could seize it only if Fourth Amendment standards are satisfied - for example,
if the items are evidence of a crime or contraband. Cf. Payton v. New York,
[506 U.S. 56, 69]
U.S., at 587 . We are also puzzled by the last sentence of the excerpt,
where the court announces that the "usual rules" of the Fourth Amendment are
inapplicable if the seizure is not the result of a search or any other
investigative activity "precisely because there is no invasion of privacy." For
the plain-view cases clearly state that, notwithstanding the absence of any
interference with privacy, seizures of effects that are not authorized by a
warrant are reasonable only because there is probable cause to associate the
property with criminal activity. The seizure of the weapons in Horton, for
example, occurred in the midst of a search, yet we emphasized that it did not
"involve any invasion of privacy."
U.S., at 133 . In short, our statement that such seizures must satisfy the
Fourth Amendment and will be deemed reasonable only if the item's incriminating
character is "immediately apparent," id., at 136-137, is at odds with the Court
of Appeals' approach.
The Court of Appeals' effort is both interesting and creative, but, at
bottom, it simply reasserts the earlier thesis that the Fourth Amendment
protects privacy, but not property. We remain unconvinced, and see no
justification for departing from our prior cases. In our view, the reason why
an officer might enter a house or effectuate a seizure is wholly irrelevant to
the threshold question whether the Amendment applies. What matters is the
intrusion on the people's security from governmental interference. Therefore,
the right against unreasonable seizures would be no less transgressed if the
seizure of the house was undertaken to collect evidence, verify compliance with
a housing regulation, effect an eviction by the police, or on a whim, for no
reason at all. As we have observed on more than one occasion, it would be
"anomalous to say that the individual and his private property are fully
protected by the Fourth Amendment only when the individual is suspected of
criminal behavior." Camara
U.S., at 530 ; see also O'Connor,
U.S., at 715 ; T.L.O.,
U.S., at 335 . [506 U.S. 56,
The Court of Appeals also stated that, even if, contrary to its previous
rulings, "there is some element or tincture of a Fourth Amendment seizure, it
cannot carry the day for the Soldals." 942 F.2d, at 1080. Relying on our
decision in Graham v. Connor,
U.S. 386 (1989), the court reasoned that it should look at the "dominant
character of the conduct challenged in a section 1983 case [to] determine the
constitutional standard under which it is evaluated." 942 F.2d, at 1080.
Believing that the Soldals' claim was more akin to a challenge against the
deprivation of property without due process of law than against an unreasonable
seizure, the court concluded that they should not be allowed to bring their
suit under the guise of the Fourth Amendment.
But we see no basis for doling out constitutional protections in such
fashion. Certain wrongs affect more than a single right, and, accordingly, can
implicate more than one of the Constitution's commands. Where such multiple
violations are alleged, we are not in the habit of identifying, as a
preliminary matter, the claim's "dominant" character. Rather, we examine each
constitutional provision in turn. See, e.g., Hudson v. Palmer,
U.S. 517 (1984) (Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process
Clause); Ingraham v. Wright,
U.S. 651 (1977) (Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process
Clause). Graham is not to the contrary. Its holding was that claims of
excessive use of force should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendment's
reasonableness standard, rather than the Fourteenth Amendment's substantive due
process test. We were guided by the fact that, in that case, both provisions
targeted the same sort of governmental conduct and, as a result, we chose the
more "explicit textual source of constitutional protection" over the "more
generalized notion of `substantive due process.'"
U.S., at 394 -395. Surely, Graham does not bar resort in this case to the
Fourth Amendment's specific protection for "houses, papers,
[506 U.S. 56, 71] and
effects," rather than the general protection of property in the Due Process
Respondents are fearful, as was the Court of Appeals, that applying the
Fourth Amendment in this context inevitably will carry it into territory
unknown and unforeseen: routine repossessions, negligent actions of public
employees that interfere with individuals' right to enjoy their homes, and the
like, thereby federalizing areas of law traditionally the concern of the
States. For several reasons, we think the risk is exaggerated. To begin, our
decision will have no impact on activities such as repossessions or attachments
if they involve entry into the home, intrusion on individuals' privacy, or
interference with their liberty, because they would implicate the Fourth
Amendment even on the Court of Appeals' own terms. This was true of the Tenth
Circuit's decision in Specht, with which, as we previously noted, the Court of
Appeals expressed agreement.
More significantly, "reasonableness is still the ultimate standard"
under the Fourth Amendment, Camara, supra, at 539, which means that numerous
seizures of this type will survive constitutional scrutiny. As is true in other
circumstances, the reasonableness determination will reflect a "careful
balancing of governmental and private interests." T.L.O., supra, at 341.
Assuming, for example, that the officers were acting pursuant to a court order,
as in Specht v. Jensen, 832 F.2d 1516 (CA10 1987), or Fuentes v. Shevin,
U.S. 67 , (1972), and, as often would be the case, a showing of
unreasonableness on these facts would be a laborious task indeed. Cf. Simms v.
Slacum, 3 Cranch 300, 301 (1806). Hence, while there is no guarantee against
the filing of frivolous suits, had the ejection in this case properly awaited
the state court's judgment, it is quite unlikely that the federal court would
have been bothered with a 1983 action alleging a Fourth Amendment violation.
[506 U.S. 56, 72]
Moreover, we doubt that the police will often choose to further an
enterprise knowing that it is contrary to the law, or proceed to seize property
in the absence of objectively reasonable grounds for doing so. In short, our
reaffirmance of Fourth Amendment principles today should not foment a wave of
new litigation in the federal courts.
The complaint here alleges that respondents, acting under color of state
law, dispossessed the Soldals of their trailer home by physically tearing it
from its foundation and towing it to another lot. Taking these allegations as
true, this was no "garden variety" landlord-tenant or commercial dispute. The
facts alleged suffice to constitute a "seizure" within the meaning of the
Fourth Amendment, for they plainly implicate the interests protected by that
provision. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is, accordingly, reversed, and
the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
 Jones' statement was prompted by a
district attorney's advice that no criminal charges could be brought because,
under Illinois law, a criminal action cannot be used to determine the right of
possession. See Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110, 9-101 et seq. (1991); People v. Evans,
163 Ill.App. 3d 561, 114 Ill.Dec. 662, 516 N.E.2d 817 (1st Dist. 1987).
 The Soldals ultimately were evicted per
court order in December 1987.
 Title 42 U.S.C. 1983 provides that:
"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom or usage, of any State ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any
citizen of the United States ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges,
or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the
party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding
 The court reiterated the panel's
conclusion that a conspiracy must be assumed on the state of the record and,
therefore, that the case must be treated in its current posture "as if the
deputy sheriffs themselves seized the trailer, disconnected it from the
utilities, and towed it away." 942 F.2d 1073, 1075 (CA7 1991) (en banc).
 The court noted that, in light of the
existence of adequate judicial remedies under state law, a claim for
deprivation of property without due process of law was unlikely to succeed.
Id., at 1075-1076. See Parratt v. Taylor,
U.S. 527 (1981). In any event, the Soldals did not claim a violation of
their procedural rights. As noted, the Seventh Circuit also held that
respondents had not violated the Soldals' substantive due process rights under
the Fourteenth Amendment. Petitioners assert that this was error, but, in view
of our disposition of the case, we need not address the question at this
 Under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the Soldals were
required to establish that the respondents, acting under color of state law,
deprived them of a constitutional right, in this instance, their Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment freedom from unreasonable seizures by the State. See
Monroe v. Pape, [506 U.S. 56, 61]
U.S. 167, 184 (1961). Respondents request that we affirm on the ground that
the Court of Appeals erred in holding that there was sufficient state action to
support a 1983 action. The alleged injury to the Soldals, it is urged, was
inflicted by private parties for whom the county is not responsible. Although
respondents did not cross-petition, they are entitled to ask us to affirm on
that ground if such action would not enlarge the judgment of the Court of
Appeals in their favor. The Court of Appeals found that, because the police
prevented Soldal from using reasonable force to protect his home from private
action that the officers knew was illegal, there was sufficient evidence of
conspiracy between the private parties and the officers to foreclose summary
judgment for respondents. We are not inclined to review that holding. See
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.,
U.S. 144, 152 -161 (1970).
 In holding that the Fourth Amendment's
reach extends to property as such, we are mindful that the Amendment does not
protect possessory interests in all kinds of property. See, e.g., Oliver v.
U.S. 170, 176 -177 (1984). This case, however, concerns a house, which the
Amendment's language explicitly includes, as it does a person's effects.
 Place also found that to detain luggage
for 90 minutes was an unreasonable deprivation of the individual's "liberty
interest in proceeding with his itinerary," which also is protected by the
U.S., at 708 -710.
 When "operational necessities" exist,
seizures can be justified on less than probable cause.
U.S., at 327 . That in no way affects our analysis, for even then it is
clear that the Fourth Amendment applies. Ibid; see also United States v. Place,
U.S. 696 , at 703 (1983).
 Of course, if the police officers'
presence in the home itself entailed a violation of the Fourth Amendment, no
amount of probable cause to believe that an item in plain view constitutes
incriminating evidence will justify its seizure. Horton,
U.S., at 136 -137.
 It is true that Murray's Lessee v.
Hoboken Land & Improvement Co., 18 How. 272 (1856), cast some doubt on the
applicability of the Amendment to noncriminal encounters such as this. Id., 18
How. at 285. But cases since that time have shed a different light, making
clear that Fourth Amendment guarantees are triggered by governmental searches
and seizures "without regard to the use to which [houses, papers, and effects]
are applied." Warden, Maryland Penitentiary v. Hayden,
U.S. 294, 301 (1967). Murray's Lessee's broad statement that the Fourth
Amendment "has no reference to civil proceedings for the recovery of debt"
arguably only meant that the warrant requirement did not apply, as was
suggested in G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States,
U.S. 338, 352 (1977). Whatever its proper reading, we reaffirm today our
basic understanding that the protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures fully applies in the civil context.
 This was the view expressed by the
Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Specht v. Jensen, 832 F.2d 1516
(1987), remanded on unrelated grounds, 853 F.2d 805 (1988) (en banc), with
which the Seventh Circuit expressly agreed. 942 F.2d, at 1076.
 The officers in these cases were
engaged in law enforcement, and were looking for something that was found and
seized. In this broad sense, the seizures were the result of "searches," but
not in the Fourth Amendment sense. That the Court of Appeals might have been
suggesting that the plain-view cases are explainable because they almost always
occur in the course of law enforcement activities receives some support from
the penultimate sentence of the quoted passage, where the court states that the
word "seizure" might lose its usual meaning "when it stands apart from a search
or any other investigative activity." Id., at 1079 (emphasis added). And, in
the following paragraph, it observes that, "[o]utside of the law enforcement
area, the Fourth Amendment retains its force as a protection against searches,
because they invade privacy. That is why we decline to confine the amendment to
the law enforcement setting." Id., at 1079-1080. Even if the court meant that
seizures of property in the course of law enforcement activities, whether civil
or criminal, implicate interests safeguarded by the Fourth Amendment, but that
pure property interests are unprotected in the non-law-enforcement setting, we
are not in accord, as indicated in the body of this opinion.
[506 U.S. 56, 73]