Search and Seizure Analysis
Abstract “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (Hudson, 2010, p. 363). In this essay we will explore what is reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment. A discussion of consensual encounters vs. etentions concerning search and seizure, we will also discus important cases that shape the fundamentals procedures of search and seizure. According to Rutledge (2010) p. 109, reasonableness may have up four factors to consider: Justification, scope, place, and manner of execution. He also makes a valid point to state that even if an officer were to have the first three factors, justification, scope, and place the fourth is the most important because it could invalidate the search and seizure if its not done properly.
A justifiable search could have many factors that would allow an officer to conduct a proper search or make a lawful detention and stops. One of them is a search warrant, which carries a limited authority to detain persons present and also search the property detailed on the warrant. Another is a criminal profile; an example would be of a drug dealer that would fit the physical description given to the officer. Anonymous tip, multiple informant’s, an example is like two or more persons able to identify someone that has committed a crime, and of course police observation.
However if the officer sees something suspicious he/she has to articulate why such person has broken the law and given him/her probable cause to do a warrantless search or detention on such said person. Scope falls in the actual process of the search, meaning that you could only reasonably search with in the search area, an example that my teacher Mr. Enos discussed in class, was if your searching for alcohol in a vehicle then you could only search were alcohol could be reasonably hidden inside a car.
Place refers to a public or private area, an example is you could search the immediate area of a public place like a park, but you can’t search someone’s back yard without a warrant. Lastly the Manner of Execution, which refers too the manner in which the officer caries out the search and his/her understanding of the individuals rights, and example would be that you could do a weapon pat down, which is literally just a pat down of the individuals clothe and don’t actually searching pockets and such.
Also it helps the officer to diffuse the situation if the officer was to ask not demand and example would be “could I pat you down for my own protection? ” (Rutledge 2010, p. 111). Consensual encounters are when an individual has agreed to talk to an officer on his/her own free will; such said person can at any time terminate the conversation and leave. An officer is able to lawfully approach anyone in a public setting and engage in a conversation. Also Rutledge advises that an officer can knock on the front door of a suspect to attempt a consensual encounter with the suspect, he can also approach a park vehicle to do the same (p. 110).
Also its ok to shine a flash light on someone and ask to talk and the reason being I believe is for the safety of the officer and the communities, its reasonable I think to want to know who is lurking in the dark. Also its reasonable that its consensual when you ask people certain things like, for identification, and show of hands, because its for the safety of the officer and also to expedite the situation along. The definition of Detention according to Rutledge is “ A detention occurs when a person submits to something the officer says or does that would communicate to a reasonable person that he/she is no longer free to leave” (2010 p. 10). However that’s only true when you have a probable cause or reasonable suspicion for such an action. The use of hunches or suspicions with any grounds is not justifiable, also if a person is hanging out in a high crime area you cant just detain them for that, also random car stops for drivers license’s check is unjustifiable, you could do sobriety checkpoints lawfully and also witness checkpoints, that’s when there is a brief stop to pass out flyers to find a suspect/felon or to seek a witness out for a nearby crime (p112).
Some of the Cases I thought were interesting and that help shape the methods of Search and Seizure were California vs. Greenwood, Katz vs. U. S, and Whren vs. U. S. California vs. Greenwood was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the warrantless search and seizure of garbage left for collection outside the premise of a home. What happen in this case was that an investigator had various sources saying that Mr.
Greenwood sold illegal drugs out of his home. So the investigator asked the trash collector if he could bring the trash to her, and sure enough there was drug paraphernalia in the trash bags (Wikipidia). In the case of Katz vs. U. S. the issue was a warrantless search and seizure in a violation of the fourth amendment? The situation was as followed Katz used a certain phone booth for interstate bookmaking and those conversations were being tape by some agents and those tapes were used to convict Katz of federal crimes.
However Katz contended that the interception of his phone calls were in violation of his fourth amendment rights, and the courts a greed and reverse Katz’s conviction stating that the search had not being pre-approve by the judge and was warrantless therefore illegal (Rutledge p. 158). In the case of Whren vs. US the issue is can a traffic stop be used as a pretext to stop a vehicle for investigative purpose? (Rutledge p. 167). Under cover narcotics officers saw a vehicle make two traffic violations and made stop to issue a warning when they spotted Mr.
Whren with crack cocaine in his hands. Whren was arrested and prosecuted, but he fought, saying that the traffic stop was an excuse to make a narcotic investigation. However the court ruled in favor of the officer that they did have the right to the arrest because it did not violate the Fourth Amendment (Rutledge p. 168). In conclusion I have cover several topics in which Search and Seizure have being explain. Such has what is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, and what is a consensual encounter and what is a detention.
Also I have covered a couple of cases that have help shape the methods of search and seizures. REFERENCE Hudson, David L. , (2010) THE HANDY LAW ANSWER BOOK, pg. 363, Visible Ink Press Rutledge, Devallis, (2010 by LawTech Publishing) Californias Peace Officers’ Legal and Search & Seizure Field Sourceguide, pg. 109-112, 158, 167-168. Retrieved May12, 2010 http://supreme. justia. com/us/486/35/case. html California vs. Greenwood,486 (paragraph1-2)