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Posted: 4/3/2006 3:30:59 PM EDT
Lets say the police request a search warrant for drugs, bust down the house find no drugs but find some stolen goods, can this evidence be used?

Or do they have to go back an get another warrant for it to be a good search?
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:40:17 PM EDT
State laws will vary:

But - here's what I was taught while in the .mil:

Let's say you were searching a garage for a stolen bike. You don't find the bike, but you find a stolen chain saw which you observed sitting out in the open. That's a good find.

Now, let's say you're still looking for the stolen bike, but you found stolen jewelry in a drawer. That's not a good find because you cannot say that you were looking in the drawer to find a stolen bike.

I probably haven't explained it as well as others will, but hopefully you will get my gist.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:46:36 PM EDT
The other evidence must be in plain view. This falls under the "Plain View doctrine".

Say the officer is searching your house for a bike. While searching he sees a pair of speakers sitting on your table, with the serial number hidden. He moves the speakers to record the serial number, which he uses later to find its stolen. This would be a no-no and would get tossed in court.

If, in the process of searching for the bike he sees the speakers WITH serial number in plain sight, he can use that evidence against you.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:48:34 PM EDT
But they do get to shoot the dog either way...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:49:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Noname:
But they do get to shoot the dog either way...



Yep. That just comes with the territory of being a JBT .
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:50:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By roboman:
The other evidence must be in plain view. This falls under the "Plain View doctrine".

Say the officer is searching your house for a bike. While searching he sees a pair of speakers sitting on your table, with the serial number hidden. He moves the speakers to record the serial number, which he uses later to find its stolen. This would be a no-no and would get tossed in court.

If, in the process of searching for the bike he sees the speakers WITH serial number in plain sight, he can use that evidence against you.



True as far as charging the person. They will not be getting the stolen speakers back however. The cops can still teach someone a hard lesson without convicting them.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:59:01 PM EDT
Funny how many things get left out in "plain view"...even if they were hidden when the warrant was served...just got up and walked out from underneath the bed...drawer was left open...etc.

In my experience: If it's contraband, but not on the warrant, if it gets found you can bet you azz it will have been in "plain view" on the report.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:00:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By roboman:
The other evidence must be in plain view. This falls under the "Plain View doctrine".

Say the officer is searching your house for a bike. While searching he sees a pair of speakers sitting on your table, with the serial number hidden. He moves the speakers to record the serial number, which he uses later to find its stolen. This would be a no-no and would get tossed in court.

If, in the process of searching for the bike he sees the speakers WITH serial number in plain sight, he can use that evidence against you.



+1 on the Plain View Doctrine

Also, fruits of crime don't have to be in plain view also. For example. Say the warrant is for a kilo of coke. You can search anywhere reasonable on the premise where a kilo of coke could be stashed. While searching under the sink, you come across several pounds of weed. The weed can be used as evidence now and you can be charged for it. Same example, but you are looking for a 42' plasma tv. You can't search under the sink since a 42' plasma tv can not fit under a sink. Basically, a criminal has a higher chance of being charged with other crimes when the contraband listed in the search warrant is relatively small, since more areas can be searched.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:02:42 PM EDT
I think it also depends what is written on the warrant. If the warrant says "searching for possible stolen goods," that is very broad. If the warrant says "searching for possible stolen bike" and they find a stolen chain saw, I think it would get thrown out of court or overturned at the appealate (sp?) level.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:04:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
Funny how many things get left out in "plain view"...even if they were hidden when the warrant was served...just got up and walked out from underneath the bed...drawer was left open...etc.

In my experience: If it's contraband, but not on the warrant, if it gets found you can bet you azz it will have been in "plain view" on the report.



Are you admitting to a felony or simply stating that it occurs often?
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:34:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
Funny how many things get left out in "plain view"...even if they were hidden when the warrant was served...just got up and walked out from underneath the bed...drawer was left open...etc.

In my experience: If it's contraband, but not on the warrant, if it gets found you can bet you azz it will have been in "plain view" on the report.



Are you admitting to a felony or simply stating that it occurs often?




Oh, wah.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:47:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:54:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Midnight-Sniper:
I think it also depends what is written on the warrant. If the warrant says "searching for possible stolen goods," that is very broad. If the warrant says "searching for possible stolen bike" and they find a stolen chain saw, I think it would get thrown out of court or overturned at the appealate (sp?) level.



#1 No judge in their right mind would issue a warrant with such broad wording. A search warrant will be item specific "a kilo of coke" "1 sony plasma 42" tv", etc, etc.

#2 It would be a good find and can be used as evidence, as long as the search was good (looking for a stolen bike where a bike would/could be reasonably be hidden).
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 8:12:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 8:14:38 PM EDT by PaDanby]
Some of the minutiae will vary from state to state. But in general the plain view doctrine holds in all states.

In some areas, you could look at serial numbers on stereo gear if you knew that the suspect had been arrested for stolen property and that that particular gear had been reported stolen in the area. Say the local Circuit City had been burglarized (you had been the investigating officer maybe) and several Whizbang 7000Xs had been stolen and here in plain sight are a few Whizbang 7000x boxes and one set up. The boxes would have serial numbers probably visible and if one of those hit then looking at the rest. In many areas once you've found additional stolen property you could then expand the search.

On the aforementioned chainsaw, as long as you could articulate a good reason for checking the serial number it would be good, if the warrant talked about bikes only, why would you be checking the chainsaw? (ok maybe the blood stains, but other than that?)
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