After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

1. Outline the four major sources that may provide probable cause.

2. Explain the exclusionary rule and the exceptions to it.

3. Explain when searches can be made without a warrant.

4. Describe the plain view doctrine, and indicate one of its limitations.

5. Distinguish between a stop and a frisk, and indicate the importance of the case Terry v. Ohio.

6. List the four elements that must be present for an arrest to take place.

7. Explain why the U.S. Supreme Court established the Miranda warning.

8. Indicate situations in which a Miranda warning is unnecessary.

Lesson Plan

Correlated to PowerPoints

I. The Fourth Amendment

Learning Objective 1: Outline the four major sources that may provide probable cause.

Learning Objective 2: Explain the exclusionary rule and the exceptions to it.

A. Reasonableness

i. Fourth Amendment prohibits against unreasonable searches and seizures

ii. Relative term indicating logic, practicality, sensibility, intelligence, and plausibility

B. Probable Cause

i. Fourth Amendment requires probable cause to issue a warrant

ii. Burden of probable cause requires more than mere suspicion on a police officer’s part

iii. Probable cause cannot be retroactively applied

iv. Sources of Probable Cause

a. Informants

b. Personal observation

c. Information

d. Evidence

e. Association

v. The Probable Cause Framework

a. Allows the police officers to do their job effectively

b. Limits the situations in which police officers can make arrests, but also gives the officers ability to act within the framework

c. Once an arrest is made, the arresting officer must prove to a judge that probable cause existed

C. The Exclusionary Rule

i. Prohibits the use of illegally seized evidence

a. Any evidence obtained by an unreasonable search or seizure is inadmissible against a defendant in a criminal trial

b. Any physical or verbal evidence that police are able to acquire by using illegally obtained evidence is known as the fruit of the poisoned tree and is also inadmissible

ii. The “Inevitable Discovery” Exception

a. The inevitable discovery exception states that evidence gathered illegally is admissible if police, using legitimate means, would have discovered it anyway

1. Brewer v. Williams (1977)

2. Nix v. Williams (1984)

iii. The “Good Faith” Exception

a. States that evidence gathered illegally is admissible if it was collected in good faith by police

1. United States v. Leon (1984)

2. Herring v. United States (2009)

Media Tool

“Video Glossary: The Exclusionary Rule”

· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNJczuTgr1A

· A short clip about the Exclusionary Rule.


II. Lawful Searches and Seizures

Learning Objective 3: Explain when searches can be made without a warrant.

Learning Objective 4: Describe the plain view doctrine, and indicate one of its limitations.

A. The Role of Privacy in Searches

i. By definition, a search is a governmental intrusion on a citizen’s reasonable expectation of privacy

ii. Katz v. United States (1967)

a. The individual must prove that she or he expected privacy

b. Society must recognize that the expectation was reasonable

iii. A Legitimate Privacy Interest

a. California v. Greenwood (1988)

b. Lowered the expectation of privacy in certain circumstances

c. Garbage bags left on a curb are no longer protected by a reasonable expectation to privacy

iv. Privacy and Satellite Monitoring

a. United States v. Jones (2012)

b. The government cannot attach a GPS device or other technology on a person for the purpose of monitoring their suspected criminal behaviors

c. The government cannot physically occupy private property

B. Search and Seizure Warrants

i. To protect against charges that they have infringed on privacy rights during a search, law enforcement officers can obtain a search warrant

ii. A search warrant is a court order that authorizes police to search a certain area

iii. Before a search warrant will be issued by a judge or magistrate, the law enforcement officer must provide the following:

a. Information showing probable cause that a crime has been or will be committed

b. Specific information on the premises to be searched, suspects to be found, and the illegal activities taking place at those premises, and the items to be seized

iv. Particularity of Search Warrants

a. The Fourth Amendment requires that a warrant describe with “particularity” the place to be searched and the things to be seized

b. Before going to a judge to get a search warrant, the officer must provide an affidavit listing specific, written information on the property that they wish to search and seize

1. Must know specific address of any place they wish to search

2. Vague descriptions of goods are frowned upon

c. A seizure is the act of taking possession of a person or property by the government because of a (suspected) violation of the law

d. Categories of items that can be seized by use of a search warrant

1. Items that resulted from the crime

2. Items that are inherently illegal for anybody to posses

3. Items that can be called “evidence” of the crime

4. Items used in committing the crime

What If Scenario

What if. . .the police came to your house with a search warrant for the garage. You let them into the garage and from there they walk into your house and start searching your house. Would you object to the search of the house? Would evidence found in the house be admissible in court? Explain why or why not.

v. Reasonableness During a Search and Seizure

a. The law gives law enforcement the ability to act “reasonably” during a search and seizure in the event of unforeseeable circumstances

b. Contraband that is in “plain view” can be seized

c. Officers are restricted in terms of where they can look, by the items they are searching for

C. Searches and Seizures without a Warrant

i. Exceptions exist to the search warrant rule

ii. Most searches take place in the absence of a judicial order

a. Warrantless searches and seizures can be lawful when police are in “hot pursuit” of a subject

b. Warrantless searches and seizures are allowed in “border areas”

iii. Searches Incidental to an Arrest

a. Most frequent exception to the warrant requirement involves searches incident to arrest

b. Almost every time a police officer makes an arrest, he or she searches the suspect

c. Searches are valid for two reasons

1. Need for a police officer to find and confiscate any weapons a suspect may be carrying

2. Need to protect any evidence on the suspect’s person from being destroyed

d. Police may search any area within the suspect’s “immediate control” to confiscate any weapons or evidence that the suspect could destroy due to Chimel v. California (1969)

iv. Searches with Consent

a. Second most common type of warrantless search

b. Takes place when individuals give law enforcement officers permission to search their persons, homes, or belongings

c. Consent given must be voluntary and without any threats and the following factors must be taken into consideration

1. The age, intelligence and physical condition of the consenting suspect

2. Any coercive behavior by the police

3. The length of questioning and its location

d. Standard set in Schneckcloth v. Bustamonte (1973)

e. Critics argue that searches are rarely voluntary because suspects are intimidated by police and do not know they have the right to refuse the search

v. Recent Developments

a. Digital devices on the border – warrantless searches of electronic devices of people crossing the border are not permitted

b. Blood used as evidence in drunk driving cases – forced blood tests are not permissible simply because of the natural dissipation of alcohol; they are permitted if the suspect shows a slurred speech and the smell of alcohol

c. Cell phone location data – government can access records of cell phone locations to trace the movement of suspects

D. Searches of Automobiles

i. The Fourth Amendment does not require police to obtain a warrant to search automobiles or other movable vehicles when the police have probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains contraband or evidence of criminal activity; this is known as the movable vehicle exception, or the Carroll Doctrine.

a. Requiring a search warrant would put a heavy burden on the police officer

b. By the time the officers could communicate with a judge and obtain the warrant, the suspects could drive away and destroy any evidence

c. A vehicle does not have the same reasonable expectation of privacy as someone at home or even in a phone booth

ii. Warrantless Searches Of Automobiles

a. In New York v. Benton (1981), the courts seemed to allow the search of the front and back compartments of a vehicle incident to the arrest of the driver

b. In Arizona v. Gant (2009) the court announced its Benton decision had been misinterpreted and that such warrantless searches are only allowed when

1. The person arrested is close enough to the car to grab or destroy evidence

2. The arresting officer reasonably believes that the car contains evidence pertinent to the same crime for which the arrest took place

iii. Pretextual Stops

a. Law enforcement officers have a great deal of leeway in making automobile stops and searches

b. As long as an officer has probable cause to believe that a traffic law has been broken, her or his “true” motivation for making the stop is irrelevant

E. The Plain View Doctrine

i. No probable cause is needed for search and seizure of contraband in plain view

ii. According to Coolidge v. New Hampshire (1971), law enforcement officers may make a warrantless seizure of an item when four criteria are met

a. Item is positioned so as to be detected easily by an officer’s sight or some other sense

b. Officer is legally in a position to notice the item in question

c. Discovery of the item is inadvertent

d. Officer immediately recognizes the illegal nature of the item

What If Scenario

What if . . . you, a police officer, suspect that there is illegal drug activity going on in a home surrounded by thick shrubbery. The shrubbery is located outside the suspect’s property. You decide to take a closer look to see what you can find. As you contort your body into a position around and under a thick shrub, you are able to see, with the aid of binoculars, an actual hand-to-hand drug deal going down. Immediately, you jump over the short chain-link fence and make an arrest. Is the arrest and seizure of the drugs under the “plain view” doctrine lawful? Does it matter that you had to contort your body to get into a position to see the drugs? Does it matter that you had to use binoculars to see the drug deal?

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