Plain View Doctrine


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Plain View Doctrine

In the context of searches and seizures, the principle that provides that objects perceptible by an officer who is rightfully in a position to observe them can be seized without a Search Warrant and are admissible as evidence.

The U.S. Supreme Court has developed and refined the plain view doctrine over time. In Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 91 S.Ct. 2022, 29 L.Ed.2d 564 (1971), the Court ruled that the seizure of two automobiles in plain view during the arrest of the defendant, along with later findings of gunpowder, did not violate the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights (protection against unreasonable Search and Seizure).

The Court also has drawn distinctions between searches and seizures in applying the plain view doctrine. In Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 197 S.Ct. 1149, 94 L.Ed.2d 347 (1987), the Court held that no seizure occurred when a police officer called to the scene of a shooting incident recorded serial numbers of stereo equipment he observed in plain view, and which he believed had been stolen. Nevertheless, the officer's actions in moving the equipment to find the serial numbers constituted a search; the officer had a "reasonable suspicion" that the equipment had been stolen, but it was not supported by Probable Cause.

plain view doctrine

n. the rule that a law enforcement officer may make a search and seizure without obtaining a search warrant if evidence of criminal activity or the product of a crime can be seen without entry or search. Example: a policeman stops a motorist for a minor traffic violation and can see in the car a pistol or a marijuana plant on the back seat, giving him "reasonable cause" to enter the vehicle to make a search. (See: search warrant, search and seizure)

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References in periodicals archive ?
(94) This supports narrowing the private search doctrine for electronic devices because the Court in Jacobsen cited to the plain view doctrine when creating the private search doctrine.
It is not a product of a search incidental to a lawful arrest, or a stop and frisk search, or the plain view doctrine,' Quezon City RTC Branch 100 Presiding Judge Editha Mina Aguba pointed out in granting the demurrer to evidence filed by the accused.
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-As to the actual checking, the"plain view doctrine" is in effect.
Among their topics are what constitutes a search, the plain view doctrine, interrogations--the due process voluntariness test, lineups and other pre-trial identification procedures, and the role of the criminal defense counsel.
The judge said that the officer had lawful access to the camper because the driveway was impliedly open, and then the officer had a right under the plain view doctrine to seize the camper.
Five stalls were caught selling corals during a buy-bust operation while two other stores were apprehended through plain view doctrine. The law enforcers found corals and juvenile clam species on the stores shelves for selling.
investigators cannot invoke the plain view doctrine as an excuse for
(31) An analysis of the plain view doctrine is beyond the scope of this article.
"Under the plain view doctrine, objects in the 'plain view' of an officer who has a right to be in the position...
arrest, because the plain view doctrine applies to digital searches,