Fourth Amt

Plaintiff Sam’s Motion To Suppress
The defendant Sam is being accused of storing stolen stereo equipment. A State Trooper
named Cannon went to Sam’s house with the intent to search his house. He approached the
house from the rear and proceeded to search Sam’s house without probable cause. The issue, in
this case, is whether the evidence against Sam was obtained through an illegal search. After
reviewing the officer’s behavior, his actions amounted to a search and this search was done
illegally. Therefore, Sam is asking to suppress any evidence obtained by State Trooper Cannon ‘s
unwarranted search.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits government actors from physically intruding on one’s
person, home, papers, and effects without a warrant. A search occurs when the government
“[engages] in a physical intrusion of a constitutionally protected area.” Katz v. United States.
“The area immediately surrounding and associated with the home [is called the curtilage].”
Florida v. Jardines. The Fourth Amendment gives this area the same amount of protection
offered to one’s home. In fact, the court feels that privacy expectations are higher in areas linked
to the home. Thus, one’s curtilage is also a constitutionally protected area.
State actors can search a constitutionally protected area if they do so in a manner that is
not physically intrusive. The police can report anything see that is visually observable from
public pathways or public roads. However, they cannot cross over public areas into a person’s
curtilage to get a better view. Moreover, if the police are approaching a person’s door, they do
not have an implied license to search the premises. “There is no customary invitation to do that.”
Florida v. Jardines. Anyone has an implied license to approach the door, knock and wait for an
answer. However, if the police what to do more than that they must get a search warrant from a
judge or magistrate. This judge or magistrate needs to have enough probable cause to grant a
In our case, State Trooper Cannon went beyond the implied license to approach a door
and engaged in an illegal search. Trooper Cannon went around his back to Sam’s house.
According to (Ex 18) the only door accessible was a sliding door which leads to the kitchen. This
porch was part of Sam’s curtilage. The stairway leading to the second door was purposefully
covered with latticework. So, when the trooper went to the back of Sam’s house to conduct his
search, he breached his implied license to knock and wait. Approaching a person’s backdoor is
outside of one’s implied license to knock and wait. The troopers only other reason for being
there was to conduct a search. Since, he did not have expressed permission or implied permission
to be in Sam’s backyard, the trooper was trespassing.
Now, the prosecution will state that Trooper Cannon’s actions did not violate Sam’s
reasonable expectation of privacy. Moreover, they argue that the trooper did not exceed the
scope of his implied license. In Florida v. Jardines the police used a drug-dog to determine if the
defendant had drugs in his home. The Court held that the use of a drug-dog amounted to a
search. In Kyllo v. United States the police used a thermal imaging device to gauge the level of
heat in the defendant’s home. The Court held that this action had amounted to a search. In this
case, Trooper Cannon merely reported what he saw. He did not use any tool or animal to
enhance his senses. Anyone could see the stereo equipment if they were close enough to the
garage. These are valid points, but they do not make up for the fact that the trooper had to breach
his customary implied license in order to get close enough to the garage.
The trooper's actions amounted to a search because of the trooper’s motives. The stereo
equipment clearly was not anything visually observable from public pathways. In order for the
trooper to see the equipment, he had to go off the public pathway and approach Sam’s curtilage.
The trooper would not have seen the stereo equipment if he was acting within the confinement’s
of his implied license to approach and knock. The trooper had to go off the public pathway and
against the customary standards to see the equipment. If the trooper wanted to do those things he
should have gotten a warrant first. The trooper entered a constitutionally protected area (Sam’s
curtilage) his actions constitute a search. Since the trooper did not have a warrant for this search
that means he conducted an unwarranted search on Sam’s property.
For these reasons listed above Sam asks for a motion to suppress any evidence obtained
through Trooper Cannon’s illegal search.
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