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Definition of Search

To go over, look through a house or other building, a person or vehicle to find contraband or illicit or stolen property or some evidence of guilt to be used in prosecuting a criminal action or offense. United states V. Jacobsen (1984)


4th Amendment

forbids unreasonable searches and seizures. Requires search warrant


Important limitation on search:

Scope must be narrow


Exclusionary Rule

The courts enforce the prohibition against unreasonable searches as set fourth in the 4th Amend. Affects illegally seized evidence. Fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine.


Inevitable discovery exception

Nix v. Williams (1984) 6th Amendment Establishes that if illegally obtained evidence would in all likelihood eventaully been discovered legally it may be used.


The Good Faith Exception

United States v. Leon (1984) The court noted that the exclusionary rule is a judically created remedy intended to serve as a deterrent rather than a guaranteed constitutional right. Illegally obtained evidence may be admissible if the police were truly not aware they were violating a suspect's 4th Amend.


Probable Cause

Standard of proof necessary to obtain a search warrant/arrest. Probable cause is more than reasonable suspicion. Reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians act (Scarry, 2007b)


When can a search be justified and therefore considered legal. 5 circumstances?

1. A search warrant has been issued.
2. Consent
3.An officer stops a suspicious person and believes the person may be armed.
4.The search is incidental to a lawful arrest.
5. An emergency exsist.


What information should the request for the warrant include?

1. Reasons for requesting it
2. Names of people presenting affidavits
3. What specifically is being sought and the signature of the judge issuingit.
4. Based on facts and sworn to by the officer requesting the warrant.
5.Address and description of the location.


Knock and notice

Based on common law.Requires officers serving a search warrant to knock and announce themselves, wait a reasonable length of time.


No knock warrant

issued if evidence may be easily destroyed or if there is advance knowledge of explosives or other specific danger to an officer. Richards v Wisconsin 1997


Normal times for serving search warrant



Particularity requirement

a search conducted with a warrant must be limited to the specific area and specific items named in the warrant. Stanford v Texas 1965


Anticipatory Warrant

based on probable cause at some time in the future.


Stop and Frisk

Terry v ohio 1968. Terry stop.
1. to investigate suspicious circumstances and
2. to identify someone who looks like a suspect
Reasonable suspicoon, a lesser standard than probable cause by equally difficult to define.
Two seperate actions, each must be seperately justified.


Search incident to arrest

Chimel decision. Chimel v california 1969. Established that a search incidental to a lawful arrest must be made simultaneously with the arrest and must be confined to the area within the suspect's immediate control.


protective sweep/ or bluie sweep

Supreme court added authority for the police to search areas immediately adjoining the place of arrest.


Exigent circumstances criteria

1. Must believe a real emergency exists requiring immediate action to protect or preserve life or to prevent serious injury.
2. The entry or search must not be motivated primarily to find evidence
3.The emergency and the area entered or searched must have a connecrton


Carroll decision

automobiles may be searched without a warrant
1.there is probable cause for the search
2. the vehicle would be gone before a search warrant could be obtained.


Inventory vehicle searches

Chambers V. Maroney (1970), Police take custody of a vehicle the courts have upheld their right to inventory such property for the following reasons:
1.To protect owners property
2. to protect the police from disputes and claims that property was stolen or damaged
3 To protect the police and the public from danger
4. To determine the owners identity


The goals of searches during investigtions

1.Determine if a crime was committed and what it is
2. Establish when the crime was committed
3. Identify who committed the crime
4. Explain how the crime was committed
5. Suggest why the crime was committed


Most common search for interior

Circular pattern, floor ceilings, walls . Floor usually produce most evidence followed by doors and windows.


fatal funnel zone

Building searches, exist outside the door and inside the doorway. This area is the ultimate choke point where the officers are the most vulnerable.


Warrant checklist (4)

No search ( plain-sense open fields, abandon property, private party delivery, controlled delivery, exposed characteristics)
Independent justification (consent, probation, or parole, incident to arrest, officer safety booking search inventor)
Exigent circumstances (rescue, protection of property, imminent destruction of evidence, fresh pursuit, escape prevention, public safety)
Fleeing target (car, van truck, RV, bus boat, aircraft, et.) with PC and lawful access


Special needs exceptions

school searches, searches of highly regulated businesses, employment and educational drug screening, the immediate search for evanescent evidence (such as blood-alcohol content) Rutedge, 2007)


Standards of Proof

1. Absolute 100%
2. Beyond a reasonable doubt, moral certainty (criminal Trials)
3. Clear and convincing evidence (civil)
4. Preponderance of evidence (51%)
5.Probable cause (arrest, prelim, arrest, search warrant)
6. Sufficient evidence, reasonable suspicion, Terry stop, less than probable cause. (appellate review)