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Your Questions About In Plain View Doctrine

May 9, 2013

Sandra asks…

Justice Administration Question?

Police are called to a domestic disturbance at the home of a reputed cocaine dealer and convicted felon. They are invited in by the lady of the house, who says that she lives there with the home owner; she takes them to living room to explain what happened.

The officers see the following items listed below; which may be seized pursuant to the plain view doctrine:
Question 26 answers
a fifty-caliber machinegun
a laptop computer that is powered-up and on which are sexually-explicit images of children
a tray with a large pile of white powder, a small scale, a box of small plastic bags and several small plastic bags containing seemingly equal portions of the white powder.
all of the above

Administrator answers:

Since you did not ask a question I can only assume that you want to know which one can be seized based upon the plain view doctrine and if so the answer would be all of the above, even if the person was not authorized to admit the officer, the officer had reasonable belief that she did and can confiscate all of the above.

Carol asks…

Can a police officer come into my house without a warrant?

I had a couple friends over for some beer the other night and we got called in for a noise complaint. being we are under age the officer came to my house and started looking around. my garage has 3 windows and a door. they could see us in my garage drinking but they do not know our age. they just walk into my garage and i ask if they need a warrant and they tell me they didnt need one and next thing i know im on my way to the station.

I know they can’t use probable cause as a reason to search my house because probable cause can only be used to obtain a search warrant which they didnt have.

Only thing i know of is the plain view doctrine but since the officers didn’t know that we were under 21 i thought they didnt have the right to just walk in.

Anyone know what is going on here?
If you want me to post my credentials of what I’ve read up on I will and please dont post if your going to bash about this.

Probable cause cannont be used to violate the 4th ammendment. probable cause is what is needed to get a search warrent which they did have..

Plain view doctrine: if they can see guns or illegal objects (drugs…) they can obtain them. they cannot assume that I am under 21 because if they do then if i was 21 and they busted into my house and im 21 they will be violating my rights. in order for them to do come in they have to know beyond a reasonable doubt that I am under 21 which i will be in 2 months so i dont get why they mad such a big deal about it
Im sorry if i come off as a … i just dont see how terry v. ohio has to do with this because the point im emphesizing is that i was within the privacy of my own home. had i been out in public i could see where this was going
I understand what you mean and i was going off of texas v. brown and since your in law I am guessing you know what happened during this case…in how they say it must be immediatly apperent that the crime is being commited. even though the first part of this would have nothing to do with texas v. brown since the officer did not need to move anything to get a view of us

Administrator answers:

You are unaware of your rights and I highly urge you to read up on them so you can better understand them. Probable cause is the EXCEPTION to needing a warrant. You DO NOT need a warrant if there is probable cause to believe something illegal is occurring.

They were able to look into your window to see you all were drinking. If you are young looking that gives them probable cause to believe underage drinking is occurring. This gives the police officers the ability to just walk in as you stated. At this point you have to identify your age. If you are underage, you gave them probable cause to search your entire house because you are committing an illegal act.

Nothing the police did was illegal and you were rightfully arrested. What is going on here is the police following the rules and doing their jobs. You are going to be held responsible for any tickets or charges you are facing as everything was done by the book.

EDIT: I’m sorry, but you have no clue what you are talking about. If a crime is being committed, or someone is in danger, police DO NOT need a search warrant to enter the premises. They have the right to search your house further because of the commission of your crime to make sure no one else is around committing the crime and to make sure there is no additional alcohol. For more protection they can get a warrant at a later date.

The plain view doctrine has nothing to do with your age. Reasonable suspicion, or probable cause does. If you look young, the police can use reasonable suspicion to enter your garage and ID you. If you are over the age of 21 they go on their ways, if you are under 21 they can hold you accountable for your actions. If you are over 21 they are not violating your rights because they had reasonable suspicion.

Another example to bring this home is if a person is having loud sex and they hear a woman screaming loudly. They can enter the home under the suspicion she is being raped or injured. If they come in and they were just having sex, the police would be justified and would not be violating those people’s rights because they had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was being committed.

You may want to read up on Terry v. Ohio to better understand your rights and see what the police did did not violate your fourth amendment rights and everything they did was legal and by the book. Sorry you feel otherwise, but what you believe is simply not true and is ignorant.

EDIT2: Terry v. Ohio is relevant to this case, because it shows an officer can search a person or in your case your home because of reasonable suspicion something is going on. This is further solidified when you see the police can search a vehicle when there is reasonable suspicion to believe a crime is being committed… Michigan v. Long. But what drives my point in that you were lawfully arrested is the plain view doctrine. They were able to look through your windows and see alcoholic beverages laying out. This gives the officers reasonable suspicion that drinking was going on. Your young looks gave the officers further reasonable suspicion to believe you may not be 21. It is the obligation of the police to stop you from drinking because it is illegal for you to drink. Because the officers felt you may be under 21, they had the right to enter your garage and ID you. They had the right to enter the rest of your home and search for other alcohol, or to see if other minors were drinking in other parts of the house. If you look at the plain view doctrine you will see it states a warrant is NOT required. That shows the case is closed right there. It shows what the officers did was legal and not an infringement on your rights. If you were not in plain view and did not show signs of intoxication being in other parts of your home where you could not be seen, the officers would have had no right to enter. But since they SAW you you had no right to the privacy you claim. They had the right to come there with the loud noise complaint. They had the right to enter when they saw the alcohol and young looking people. This is infusing the plain view doctrine and reasonable suspicion or probable cause together.

Robert asks…

Is suspected underage drinking probable cause to seach?

Say your walking down the street with some friends.. A police officer stops you and your friends and questions you about a fight. One of your friends tells the cop that he had seen something. While you and the other friend say that you have seen nothing out of the ordinary.. The Cop then tells you that he’s going to search you. You respond that you don’t consent to any warrantless searches. Your then placed in handcuffs and told that your going to be patted down and frisked for weapons under the Terry Rule. After the regular pattdown and frisk has occured and no weapons were found, the cop then reaches into your pockets and digs around. And only after a series of investigations and probes into your pocket does the search yeild contraband. Which, was a plastic sandwich bag of unknown content and and origin until removed from your pocket. Your then placed under arrest for the possesion of the inherient contraband. And only after being placed into a cop car are you asked to perform any form of a sobriety test. You refuse to perfom them because of your belived mistreatment. Because of the manner of search and seizure of the contraband which is a violation of the “Plain-sight, Plain ViewDoctrine which points out that the police officer must be able to determine simultaneously that the item is not a weapon and that the item is contraband. If the police officer cannot determine that the item is contraband without additional probing or investigation, the Plain Feel Doctrine does not apply. Once the police officer feels an item and determines that the item is not a weapon, the police officer is not permitted to make any further investigation or probe into the nature of the item; therefore, unless the police officer can simultaneously determine that the item is not a weapon and that the item is contraband, the item cannot be seized…..

And to clarify, the exsistence of the contraband isn’t known untill further probing and investigation into your persons. Or to say, they didnt know anything of illegal nature was in your possesion untill they thouroughly searched the front pockets of your pants.
Also note, that all items on your persons was removed before the contraband was found. which for general purpose sake say was a Ipod, headphones and a hat. All of which were removed, even though a trained officer should be able to determine that the miscelaneous items are NON-Weopon related by simply feeling them during the frisk..

IS THIS A VIOLATION OF YOUR 4th Ammendment Rights???? And should the contraband be dismissed from legal obligation due to the Unconstitutional aqusition of the said contraband???
as to my knownledge the officer had no inclination to assume i had been drinking. And I was presumed intoxicated only after refusing to take a sobriety test.. Which was after i was thourhoughly searched. I am a minor also and asked that my parent be present if i am to be searched. Which was responded by several officers saying that “YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS” which was repeated several times when i tried to assertain my 4th ammendments Rights
I would have to say the only thing this question has to do with underage drinking is that because i refused to take a sobriety test does that give the cop probable cause to search my entire persons and thouroughly investigate the contents of my pockets
Also i was completley searched of my possesions before any word of underage drinking was spoken from the officer.. I was only asked to perform a sobriety test after i was searched and placed in the back of the officers squad car for the possesion of the alleged contraband

Administrator answers:

1. You did not have to stop and answer his questions.
2. He had no legal right to cuff you and pat you down.

In this case, the evidence(the drugs) would be thrown out of court. Not only that, the police officer could be sued. It is a violation of your 4th Amendment rights.

Richard asks…

IS This a Violation of my 4th Ammendment rights?

Say your walking down the street with some friends.. A police officer stops you and your friends and questions you about a fight. One of your friends tells the cop that he had seen something. While you and the other friend say that you have seen nothing out of the ordinary.. The Cop then tells you that he’s going to search you. You respond that you don’t consent to any warrantless searches. Your then placed in handcuffs and told that your going to be patted down and frisked for weapons under the Terry Rule. After the regular pattdown and frisk has occured and no weapons were found, the cop then reaches into your pockets and digs around. And only after a series of investigations and probes into your pocket does the search yeild contraband. Which, was a plastic sandwich bag of unknown content and and origin until removed from your pocket. Your then placed under arrest for the possesion of the inherient contraband. And only after being placed into a cop car are you asked to perform any form of a sobriety test. You refuse to perfom them because of your belived mistreatment. Because of the manner of search and seizure of the contraband which is a violation of the “Plain-sight, Plain ViewDoctrine which points out that the police officer must be able to determine simultaneously that the item is not a weapon and that the item is contraband. If the police officer cannot determine that the item is contraband without additional probing or investigation, the Plain Feel Doctrine does not apply. Once the police officer feels an item and determines that the item is not a weapon, the police officer is not permitted to make any further investigation or probe into the nature of the item; therefore, unless the police officer can simultaneously determine that the item is not a weapon and that the item is contraband, the item cannot be seized…..

And to clarify, the exsistence of the contraband wasn’t known untill further probing and investigation into your persons. Or to say, they didnt know anything of illegal nature was in your possesion untill they thouroughly searched the front pockets of your pants.
Also note, that all items on your persons was removed before the contraband was found. which for general purpose sake say was a Ipod, headphones and a hat. All of which were removed, even though a trained officer should be able to determine that the miscelaneous items are NON-Weopon related by simply feeling them during the frisk..

IS THIS A VIOLATION OF YOUR 4th Ammendment Rights???? And should the contraband be dismissed from legal obligation due to the Unconstitutional aqusition of the said contraband???

as to my knownledge the officer had no inclination to assume i had been drinking. And I was presumed intoxicated only after refusing to take a sobriety test.. Which was after i was thourhoughly searched. I am a minor also and asked that my parent be present if i am to be searched. Which was responded by several officers saying that “YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS” which was repeated several times when i tried to assertain my 4th ammendments Rights

From the information above, would someone in that predicament have any chance at beating the court case or even have the charges dropped because of the infringement of their 4th ammendment rights.
and its assumable that the charges are simple possesion of a controlled substance

Administrator answers:

This is a clear violation of your 4th amendment rights as a United States citizen. You may not pay taxes, you are not even be able to vote (under 18), but I’m guessing you generally follow the rule of law. Thus, I suggest you research “rights of an underage American citizen” in Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, etc. But remember, you need to follow advice given to you, and you need to be *extremely* respectful. Say sir, ma’am – that sort of respect. You need to advocate your innocence, and if you are even mildly rude; not obeying the court rules, speaking out of turn, not using “Mr.” “Ms./Mrs.” then your legal counsel will find it easier on their conscience to let the case turn against you.
My questions are:
Was your record clean (as in NOTHING) before this incident?
Are you prepared to do community service?
Are your parents well-off? (enough money for a very good lawyer, possibly ACLU-caliber)

Charles asks…

Help me get started please!!!! Does probable cause or reasonable suspicion exist? Help me explain.?

Does probable cause or reasonable suspicion exist? Help me explain. Do the levels of proof justify a stop and frisk or an arrest? Help me explain. Determine if Miranda warnings were properly given and why. Did a proper vehicle inverntory search occur? How do you know? Did the officer follow proper procedures for seizure of person/things? Help me explain. Which doctrine applies: Plain view, open fields, or abandonment? Help me Explain. Determine the jurisdiction and the venue. Should a DNA inquiry be used in this case? Explain. Identify elements from the fact pattern.

On Friday, August 26, 2005, Officer Todd Melbourne of the Phoenix Police Department drove his cruiser behind a red Honda Civic heading northbound on Hayden Road. The Civic had a crack in the windshield, one headlight was out, and traveled 5 mph under the speed limit. Officer Melbourne also noticed the vehicle tags were two months past due. He turned his cruiser’s lights on, and the Civic pulled over to the right.
Officer Melbourne called the license plate into dispatch and found the registered owner of the vehicle, Jacob Tierney, had an arrest warrant for missing a mandatory probationary hearing three weeks back. He called for backup and exited the police cruiser. As the officer walked toward the Civic, the driver hit the gas, spun the back tires, and continued down Hayden Road. Officer Melbourne got back into his car, advised dispatch he was involved in a police chase, and drove after the Civic.
Just 100 yards from the start of the chase, the Civic stopped along the side of the road. Officer Melbourne pulled behind the vehicle as two men exited, and ran in opposite directions. The officer chased after the man heading east through a park. After a series of bushes, fences, and backyards, however, Melbourne was unable to bring the man into custody; both of the vehicle’s occupants had escaped.
Officer Kevin Sedwick had arrived by the time Officer Melbourne returned to the abandoned cars. Sedwick advised Melbourne that a rape had occurred only a few miles away from their location; the suspects were identified as two males, in their late twenties, wearing dark clothes. Officer Melbourne described the male he had chased as wearing dark clothes.
Both of the Civic’s doors were left open, and officers Melbourne and Sedwick searched the contents of the vehicle. Officer Sedwick found an Arizona driver license on the floor near the gas pedal, issued to a Bruce Moreno. Officer Melbourne found a black, hooded sweatshirt on the backseat and a pair of jogging socks on the floor. The officers impounded the vehicle and drove back to the stationhouse.
Two detectives, Patrick Jones and James Morales, were assigned to work the case. They were given the details of the crime, the suspects, and the location of the victim. Jones and Morales went to question the victim, who was in the hospital receiving treatment and a forensic exam. During questioning, the victim identified Moreno from the driver license picture and Tierney from a mug shot, both of which were grouped with five other photos. She told the detectives that her light blue shirt was ripped from her during the attack, while the suspects forced off her socks and Adidas® running shoes just before leaving the scene. The victim also indicated that she overheard the suspects planning to take a trip somewhere. The detectives called for backup and went to Tierney’s residence, where the Civic was registered.
Jones and Morales arrived at the Tierney residence, where, through the window and the half-opened drapes, they could see a woman with a cut across her face, crying on a couch. The detectives knocked down the front door and entered the house, without a warrant or consent from the residents. Four people were sitting on the couch, two unidentified women—one crying–with Moreno and Tierney. Drug paraphernalia, a semi-automatic gun, a knife, and a blue, ripped shirt rested on the coffee table. The house was cleared and secured. No other evidence was collected.
The four individuals were handcuffed and placed under arrest. Moreno and Tierney were taken outside, where they were read Miranda rights. The detectives then questioned the two men about the ripped shirt and the alleged rape. The women were questioned about the drugs and weapons on the table, which they confessed to having in their possession. Once the women appeared before the magistrate, they were also informed of their Miranda rights.
All parties were taken to the Maricopa County Jail for processing. Tierney and Moreno were charged with rape and possession of narcotics. The women were also charged with possession of narcotics. Their trials are pending in Arizona Superior Court.

Administrator answers:

Yes.

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