University of Miami Law Review


For over half a century, the Court’s decision in Katz v. United States has been the lodestar for applying the Fourth Amendment. The Katz test has produced a litany of confusing and irreconcilable decisions in which the Court has carved exceptions into the doctrine and then carved exceptions into the exceptions. These decisions often leave lower courts with minimal guidance on how to apply the framework to new sets of facts and leave legal scholars and commenters befuddled and frustrated with the Court’s explanations for the rulings. The Court’s decision in Carpenter v. United States represents the apex of Katz’s unclear standard, counterintuitive application, and lack of guidance for lower courts.

This Note examines the evolution of the Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence both before and after the Katz decision and argues that the Carpenter decision epitomizes Katz’s legacy as a flawed precedent that is incapable of adequately applying the Fourth Amendment to new sets of facts in the twenty-first century and beyond. This Note further argues that Katz should be abandoned as the Fourth Amendment standard in lieu of a hybrid approach that combines privacy and property protections and incorporates positive law in determining the scope of the Fourth Amendment.