Chapter 3
Fourth Amendment
• 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.
Conditions of a Legal Search
• A search warrant has been issued
• Consent is given
• An officer stops a suspicious person and
believes the person may be armed
• The search is incident to a lawful arrest
• An emergency exists
Illinois v. Gates
• The test for probable cause under the
Fourth Amendment should be a totality of
the circumstances test.
• This case modified Aguilar v. Texas, and
Spinelli v. U.S.
A Search Warrant
can be Issued for:
• Stolen or embezzled property
• Property designed or intended for use in
committing a crime
• Property that indicates a crime has been
committed or a particular person has
committed a crime
Illinois v. McArthur
• Police officers may detain residents outside
their homes until a search warrant can be
obtained if necessary.
• “A police officer’s refusal to allow
residents to enter their homes without a
police officer until a search warrant was
obtained was a reasonable seizure that did
not violate the Fourth Amendment.”
Terry v. Ohio
• The Terry decision established that a patdown or frisk is a “protective search for
weapons” and as such must be “confined to a
scope reasonably designed to discover guns,
knives, clubs and other hidden instruments for
the assault of a police officer or others.”
• NOTE: The officer may only pat-down for
Florida v. J.L.
• The Court held that
police could not stop
and frisk someone
based on an
anonymous tip.
Chimel v. California
• A search incidental to a lawful arrest must
be made simultaneously with the arrest and
must be confined to the area within the
suspect’s immediate control.
• Immediate control means within the
person’s reach.
Additional Cases
• N.Y. v. Belton (1981): established that the vehicle of a
person who has been arrested can be searched
without a warrant. This search is limited to the
passenger compartment and containers therein.
• N.Y. v. Quarles (1984): a warrantless search in the
absence of a lawful arrest or consent is justified only
in emergencies or exigent circumstances where
probable cause exists and the search must be
conducted immediately.
• Mincey v. AZ. (1978): the Fourth Amendment does
not require police officers to delay a search if to do
so would gravely endanger their lives or the lives of
The Exclusionary Rule
• The exclusionary rule established that
courts may not accept evidence obtained
by unreasonable search and seizure,
regardless of its relevance to a case.
• Weeks v. U.S. (1914) made the rule
applicable at the federal level; Mapp v.
Ohio (1961) made it applicable to all other
Related Principles
• Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine
established that evidence obtained as a result
of an earlier illegality must be excluded from
• Good Faith Doctrine established that illegally
obtained evidence may be admissible if the
police were not aware they were violating a
suspect’s Fourth Amendment Rights.
Goals of the Crime Scene Search
• Establish that a crime was committed and
what the specific crime was
• Establish when the crime was committed
• Identify who committed the crime
• Explain how the crime was committed
• Suggest why the crime was committed
Crime Scene Search
• A true or uncontaminated crime scene is
one that no evidence has been introduced
into it or taken from it except by the person
committing the crime.
• The “elephant-in-a-matchbox” doctrine
requires that searchers consider the
probable size and shape of evidence.
Search Patterns
Exterior Searches
Lane Search Pattern
Strip Search Pattern
Grid Search Pattern
Circle Search Pattern
Zone/Sector Search Pattern
Interior Searches
Plain View Evidence
• Unconcealed evidence seen by an officer
engaged in a lawful activity, it is
admissible in court – U.S. v. Henry (1958).
• Michigan v. Taylor (1978)
• U.S. v. Lueck
• Boyd v. U.S. (1886)
Other Types of Searches
Building Searches
Trash or Garbage Can Searches
Vehicle Searches
Inventory Searches
Suspect Searches
Dead Body Searches