Essay Sample on Fourth Amendment: Seizure and Search of Homes

Published: 2023-06-14
Essay Sample on Fourth Amendment: Seizure and Search of Homes
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Criminal law Police
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1099 words
10 min read


The Fourth Amendment protects seizures and searches that are unlawful, and police officers require a signed by judge search warrant for them to search homes. They need to show the permit before searching and entering the home of a person (Steinberg, 2004). There is an exception for plain view doctrine since it warrants requests of the Fourth Amendment. Plain view doctrine is by law accepted, and without warrant law, enforcement officers can seize contrabands as evidence when there is an observation by the officer in plain view of the contraband. The plain view doctrine intends to secure a warrant in the officer's plain sight evidence of a crime sparing the police from stopping a legal search. At trial, there may be suppression of property or contraband that is seized illegally. The approach means that there are exceptions to the exclusionary rule, and unlawfully obtained evidence by the court will not permit the use of it for prosecution.

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In many cases of a crime, the only linking evidence to a suspect is the contraband, therefore, may be the distinction between an acquittal and a conviction whether there is a suppression of evidence detained under the plain view doctrine. Three conditions need to be satisfied for officers to convict a crime under plain view doctrine for any contraband that they have seized. The first condition is that there must be a plain view for the smuggling, meaning that it is readily observable and in the open. The officer's with their point of view to visible objects can seize the items under this doctrine. For instance, the case of Bob with visible weapons in a shed door that is partially open. The second condition in viewing contraband the officer needs legal permission to be in place. The sight evidence, therefore, means that officers cannot illegally infringe or trespass the right to privacy to get a better advantage in spotting the contraband. The last but not least condition is that there must be the contraband from the officer as evidence (Guzzi, 2012). Under plain sight evidence, the objects need to have explicit criminal indication activity, and officers may determine whether the item is contraband by relying on their experience. Plain sight seizure has a legal requirement of not obtaining evidence from illegal entry, intrusion, or invasion to preserve potential evidence.

Dying declaration and exigent circumstances are widely used by law and courts, and they believe in them with constitutional amendments. A dying declaration is a testimony where a declarant makes a testimonial under the faith of looming or certain death, or that there was the unavailability of the person to testify in court because of end of life (Gorea & Aggarwal, 2004). A statement that is out of court is known as hearsay and is admissible in court in dying declaration, unlike regular gossip. Permissible general rules also apply to the dying declaration by the requirement of declarant's actual knowledge as the basis for disclosure in court. Dying declaration in the law of evidence is a testament, and admission of it can be evidence for criminal law trials.

Exigent circumstances are situations whereby a person can have reasonable cause with the belief those relevant activities are necessary to escape and prevent harm to other individuals or officers. Exigent circumstances occur when there is an improper legitimization of law enforcement efforts, or there is the destruction of evidence that is relevant (Mehra, 2010). Exigent circumstances concept typically allows the emergency pass to an area that needs a warrant applying to the highest level of homes that have privacy anticipation. Courts use and believe con exceptions of a dying declaration and exigent circumstances because they are trustworthy and credible. Most people generally believe that when an individual is facing matters of death or is dying, they tell the truth and do not lie, resulting in the exception of the hearsay rule.

Applying exceptions to the exclusionary rule to Bob's case, there is a threat of bodily harm to the officers when they respond to complaints of noise. The officer Jones fears damage when he notices the weapons in a shed and walks toward them for confirmation.

Bob also fears for his life and reacts to grab the gun of Officer Jones, and the struggle causes injury to a resident. Law enforcement with exigent circumstances allows the prevention of bodily harm, and police enter the protected area like the residential home of Bob. It is lawful for the seizure of Bob under the situation that the belief was reasonable. Destruction of evidence can as well apply in this case since exigent circumstances cover this in view that the proofs can be destroyed. The officer's reaction was to hold the evidence they see before the suspect flees as they wait for warrants, but the situation leads to a person being shot. The dying declaration, in this case by Bob, is when he tells the law enforcement about the guns, reasons for them, and where he acquired them. He plans a criminal conspiracy to attack a rally with two of his coco-conspirators. Both exigent circumstances and dying declaration apply to the case of Bob, and law enforcement should consider them in court.

The defendant's arguments will not be prosperous because plain view doctrine can be useful in this case since there is evidence by the crate of guns. In court, the answer should depend on the probable cause of the officer to those items and suspect a crime. The officers were responding to a disturbance call, and the reaction of the defendant gives probable cause since the crate of guns is likely to have a connection with more parties to a crime. Using exigent circumstances, the defendant has the highest level of privacy by using dogs to roam freely in his compound. The dogs give suspicion, and the officers used legal rights when they requested the owner Bob for entry before using plain sight evidence. The courts may also consider the fact that the suspect was armed, and the safety of the officers with other residents was in threat. Serious crime is involved when Bob lunges at Officer Jones under exigent circumstances.


Gorea, R. K., & Aggarwal, O. P. (2004). Critical appraisal of dying declaration. Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, 26(1), 24-26.

Guzzi, S. (2012). Digital Searches and the Fourth Amendment: The Interplay between the Plain View Doctrine and Search-Protocal Warrant Restrictions. Am. Crim. L. Rev., 49, 301.

Mehra, A. (2010). Legal authority in unusual and exigent circumstances: the Federal Reserve and the financial crisis. U. Pa. J. Bus. L., 13, 221.

Steinberg, D. E. (2004). The Original Understanding of Unreasonable Searches and Seizures. Fla. L. Rev., 56, 1051.

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