代表加利福尼亚州的律师辩称，一旦格林伍德从他的房子里取出垃圾袋并把它们留在路边，他就无法合理地预期这些内容会保密。这些袋子在公众的视线范围内，任何没有格林伍德知识的人都可以使用。通过垃圾进行搜索是合理的，并且在搜索期间发现的证据提供了搜索房屋的可能原因。格林伍德认为，官员违反了他的第四修正案保护措施，未经他的同意或逮捕令搜查他的垃圾。他的论点基于1971年加利福尼亚州最高法院的案件，人民诉克里夫达案，该案裁定无证的垃圾搜查是非法的。格林伍德声称他有一个合理的隐私期望，因为他把他的垃圾藏在黑色袋子里，然后专门为垃圾收集器留在路边。 Byron White法官代表法院发表了6-2的意见。法院采纳了加利福尼亚州对此案的看法，裁定警方可以在没有逮捕令的情况下搜查垃圾。格林伍德一旦将垃圾袋放在公众视野中，就没有对垃圾袋内容的隐私期望，因为它违反了第四修正案的要求。在决定中，怀特法官写道：“众所周知，留在公共街道或侧面的塑料垃圾袋很容易被动物，儿童，拾荒者，窥探者和其他公众所接触。”他认为不能指望警方将其目光转移到任何其他社会成员都能观察到的活动上。法院根据Katz v.United进行了这一评估，该评估发现，如果一个人“明知而言”向公众揭露某些东西，即使在他们的家中，他们也不能声称对隐私有所期待。在这种情况下，被告故意将他的垃圾放在公众视野中供第三方运输，从而放弃任何合理的隐私期望。
Lawyers representing California argued that once Greenwood took the garbage bags out of his house and left them on the side of the road, he could not reasonably expect that the content would be kept secret. These bags are within the public eye and can be used by anyone without Greenwood knowledge. Searching through spam is reasonable, and the evidence found during the search provides a possible reason for searching for a home. Greenwood believes that the official violated his Fourth Amendment protection measures and searched his garbage without his consent or arrest warrant. His argument is based on the 1971 Supreme Court case in California, where the people vowed to the Cliveda case, which ruled that undocumented junk searches were illegal. Greenwood claims that he has a reasonable expectation of privacy because he hid his garbage in a black bag and then left the garbage collector on the side of the road. Judge Byron White issued a 6-2 opinion on behalf of the court. The court adopted California’s view of the case and ruled that the police could search for rubbish without a warrant. Once Greenwood puts the garbage bag in the public eye, there is no privacy expectation for the contents of the garbage bag because it violates the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In the decision, Judge White wrote: “It is well known that plastic garbage bags left on public streets or on the side are easily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoopers and other public.” He believes that the police cannot be expected to shift their gaze To any activity that can be observed by any other member of society. The court conducted this assessment in accordance with Katz v. United, which found that if a person “knows” something to the public, even in their home, they cannot claim to have an expectation of privacy. In this case, the defendant deliberately placed his rubbish in the public’s view for third-party transportation, thereby giving up any reasonable privacy expectations.