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Paper Topic:

Plain View/Open Fields Case Study

Plain View /Open Fields Case Study

In the case of the purse which was dropped by a suspect who had been running from the police officers , the plain view and the open field doctrines were both applicable . According to the law , the Plain View Doctrine is applied when a police officer comes upon a contraband which is in plain view ' in any area where the presence of said police officer is legal . In such a situation , the officer could legally seize the contraband on the spot without the need of a warrant and

arrest its owner for illegally possessing the substance . Only one condition should be established : that before seizing the object , said police officer should establish probable cause ' that the object is unquestionably contraband . Under such circumstances , the owner of the object in question is not protected by the Fourth Amendment (FindLaw , n .d

On the other hand , according to the Open Fields Doctrine , the owner of an object located out of doors where it could be plainly seen or accessible to anybody who is on foot , from inside any motor vehicle , or a low-flying aircraft , could not seek the privacy protection under the Fourth Amendment . This means that even if a dwelling unit is protected by a fence , the fenced-in ground is still considered an open field if people can easily peep through cracks in the fence , or if the fence is low enough for people to have a clear view of the ground inside without standing on their toes or on top of any object in to have a clear line of sight . The protection against intrusion exercised by the owner such as a locked gate is also taken into consideration . Open fields include streets , sidewalks , bodies of water , outdoor fields , or even the cartilage ' of a fenced-in residential building if it is in plain view of people standing outside the fence (FindLaw , n .d

The purse was dropped in a place which was accessible to anybody at all times of the day , being a back alley where residents deposit their trash for the garbage collectors to pick up . In other words , the presence of any person in that area , including police officers , could not be considered unlawful . These circumstances made that particular alley an open field . The doctrine on open fields is therefore applicable . In addition , when the purse was dropped , it sprung open and spilled most of its contents on the ground , including the marijuana sticks . In other words , the police officer immediately saw the marijuana sticks when he came back for the purse after failing to catch up with the escaping man because they were in plain view ' Given that the place where the purse was dropped could be considered an open field and that the marijuana sticks were in plain view of the officer in a place where the presence of said officer is not unlawful , the open field doctrine as well as the doctrine of plain view could both be applied...

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