Citation: 480 U.S. 321 (1987)
A bullet was shot through the floor of Hick’s apartment, injuring the man in the apartment downstairs. During an investigation of Hick’s apartment, a police found 3 guns as well as a mask. The officer also noticed a stereo system that looked out of place. The officer moved the stereo to see the serial number on it, and then called it into the police station. The dispatcher informed the officer that the stereo equipment had been stolen during a previous armed robbery. The defendant was then arrested for having stolen property and the stereo was seized. The original search was done without a warrant, only consent of the homeowner to be in the apartment. Only when an officer has probable cause can they evoke the plain view doctrine. Was the search reasonable under the fourth amendment?
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. Our opinion:
We agree with the courts decision that the officer’s actions were “unrelated to the objectives of the authorized intrusion, [and] exposed to view concealed portions of the apartment or its contents, did produce a new invasion of respondent’s privacy unjustified by the exigent circumstance that validated the entry.” The officer was only granted access to the apartment by the homeowner to investigate what had happened during the shooting. The serial number on the stereo was not in plain view and because he had to move the stereo to find it, he violates the apartment owner’s rights. The officer had no reason to investigate the stereo, whether it looked out of place or not. He was only there to find evidence relating to the shooting and he should have respected that...