Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
blong4133
Posts: 219
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:35 pm

Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby blong4133 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:09 am

I get that in order for a warrantless seizure of an item in a home under the Plain View Doctrine to be valid, the entry into the home must be valid under a 4th Amendment analysis.

But lets say an officer is walking by a house and sees illicit drugs laying on a coffee table through a window (and let's assume he's not in the home's curtilege) and goes and knocks on the door and announces without a warrant. Let's also assume the person in the home is a complete idiot and opens the door and the officer sees the drugs on the table. With nothing else being said, is this enough to seize the drugs, or does there need to be consent/exigencies to actually enter the home before the officer can seize the drugs?

I guess I'm just trying to figure out if a "lawful entry" into the home is required under circumstances such as that. Our professor gave us a practice exam question similar to that and I'm not completely sure what the answer is.

I apologize for the stupid question...again.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby kalvano » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:25 am

If he knocked on the door and could see the drugs from the doorstep, there's a pretty good exigency circumstances analysis to be made for destruction of evidence.

Strictly speaking, he should go get a warrant before knocking on the door, but officer-created exigent circumstances is OK. See MacDonald and Kentucky v. King.

blong4133
Posts: 219
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby blong4133 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:27 am

kalvano wrote:If he knocked on the door and could see the drugs from the doorstep, there's a pretty good exigency circumstances analysis to be made for destruction of evidence.

Strictly speaking, he should go get a warrant before knocking on the door, but officer-created exigent circumstances is OK. See MacDonald and Kentucky v. King.


Right, he should get the search warrant, but this was kind of an extreme example.

Thanks for the response!

User avatar
joobacca
Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:49 am

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby joobacca » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:28 am

i feel like destruction of evidence argument is always going to work when the shit is drugs

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby kalvano » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:53 am

joobacca wrote:i feel like destruction of evidence argument is always going to work when the shit is drugs


They've specifically rejected the argument that drugs will continue to be sold creates exigent circumstances. But here, if he knows the cop saw, he just has to start flushing before Vic and the Strike Team can get there.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:58 am

Would the reason for the officer knocking on the door be a factor ?

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Unconstitutional Seizure under Plain View Doctrine?

Postby kalvano » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:09 pm

No, the court in MacDonald (which is a Circuit case, but SCOTUS relied on it pretty heavily and adopted most of it in Kentucky v. King) said that as long as you are knocking on the door legally, you're good. It doesn't matter if the officer creates the exigent circumstances.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: black lab, kensey, LandMermaid, peger, Yahoo [Bot] and 9 guests