Chapter 13-Plain view and open fields searches Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 13-Plain view and open fields searches Deck (19)
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three requirements for the plain view doctrine to apply

1. item must be within officer sight
2. officer must legally be in the place from which the item is seen
3. must be immediately apparent to the officer that the item is subject to seizure


requirement that the item be within the officers sight means ?

item must be noted through the sense of sight and not thru the use of other four senses



meaning the accidental finding by the officer of the item rather than prior knowledge that the item is in a particular place. Used to be a 4th requirement for plain view.


open field doctrine states

that item in open fields are not protected by the 4th and may be properly seized by an officer without a warrant or probable cause.


plain view and open fields are different in two ways

plain view doctrine, the seizure of property is usually in a house or another enclosed place.
open fields doctrine , items found in a non-enclosed area . Plain view, items seized is limited in the officers sight and open fields the use of officesrs other senses.


United States v Dunn, 1987

Court held that warrantless search of a barn that is not part of the curtilage of a house is valid.


"Certain Knowledge" that evidence seen is incriminating is not necessary under the plain view doctrine. Probable cause suffices.

Texas v Brown, 1983
Brown stopped at drivers license checkpoint. officer observed driver holding a green party balloon which was knotted one half inch from tip.
Court says the items must be immediately recognizable as subject to seizure if they fall under plain view doctrine. Certain knowledgte that incriminating evidence is involved is not necessary. Probable cause is sufficienct to justify seizurre.


Coolidge v New Hampshire, 1971

plain view doctrine permits the warrantless seizure by police where three requirements are satisfied.
1.police must be in a lawful position
2. officer must discover the evidence "inadvertently"
3. must be immediately apparent,


4 basic elements of plain view doctrine

1. awareness of the item must be gained soley thru sight.
2 officer must be legally present in place from which he sees the item
3. discovery of items must be inadvertent
4. items must be immediately recognizable as subject to seizure.


Brown case clarified the 4th Amend

"immediately recognizability, does not mean certain knowledge. All that is needed is probable cause.


"No tresspassing" signs do not effectively bar public from viewing open fields, therefore expectation of privacy by owner of an open field does not exist

Oliver v Unites States, 1984


Naked-eye observation by the police of a suspects backyard which is part of the curtilage, does not violate 4th

California v Ciraolo, 1986
Ciraolo was growing marij in backyard. AFter tip, police flew a plane over the backyard. Valid search


warrantless observation of a barn that is not part of the curtilage is valid.

Unites STates v Dunn,1987
barn 50 yards away from house. Court said it was not part of curtilage, officers looked inside, never entering the building and observed chemicals and equipment. later returned with a search warrant. Valid


whether an area is considered a part of the curtilage of a home rests on four factorss

1. proximity of the area to the home
2. whether the area is in an enclosure surrounding the home
3. nature and uses of the area
4. steps taken to conceal the area from public view


This court held that there is no constitutional difference between police observations conducted in a public place and while standing in an open field

Oliver v United States, 1984


Probable cause to believe that items seen are contraband or evidence of criminal activity is required for items to be seized under plain view

Arizona v Hicks, 1987
obtaining serial numbers on exigent circumstances entry of apt. must have probable cause to believe items are contraband.


Inadvertent discovery, of evidence is no longer a necessary element of plain view doctrine

Horton v California, 1990
officers had probable cause to search Hortons home for evidence of robbery and weapons used. warrant issued was for stolen property, but officers found weapons in plain view.


Horton case does away with requirement that for plain view to apply, the discovery of evidence must be purely accidental.

officer knew the evidence was there but failed to put it in the warrant. officers saw weapons in plain view and seized them. valid


Horton case seizure was vaild because

1. items seized were discovered during a lawful search
2. when discovered, it was immediately apparent to officer
3. officer had probable cause,
4. search was authorized by the warrant