Warrants and Plain View Evidence

| Feb 14, 2011 | Criminal Defense |

A case named Dobbs had a set of facts where while executing a lawful search of the appellee’s residence pursuant to a warrant, the police came upon items in plain view that they lacked probable cause to believe were connected to any crime.  While still lawfully on the premises, however, they conducted further investigation and determined that the items were stolen property, seizing them accordingly.  The court of appeals held that the seizure violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it had not been “immediately apparent” to the officers that the items were stolen.

The Court of Criminal Appeals held that so long as probable cause to believe that the items found in plain view constitute contravad arises while the police are still lawfully on the premises, and any further investigation into the nature of those items does not entail an additional and unjustified search of, or unduly prolonged police presence on the premises, the seizure of those items is permissible under the Fourth Amendment.