4 terms

4th Amendment Plain View

What are the three requirements for plain view?
1) The officer must see the item from a place he or she rightfully occupies (a public place)
2) The item's incriminating or evidentiary nature must be readily apparent to the officer
3) The officer must be able to lawfully access the evidence.
If I'm a cop, standing on a public sidewalk, looking into the window of 123 Main Street and see a plant that I know is marijuana, can you enter 123 Main Street under plain view?
No - you have no lawful right of access. You must have a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement to actually enter 123 Main Street. Use what you've got to get an arrest warrant or a search warrant. Maybe there is an exception to the warrant requirement that might let you inside - if you knock on the door you can get consent. If somebody runs inside whom you're trying to apprehend maybe you can use hot pursuit. If the person inside 123 Main Street saw ypu looking through the window at his marijuana plant, grabbed it and made a dash for the garbage disposal, maybe you can use your PC coupled with destruction of evidence and use that exception to the warrant requirement.
Why can a copy seize a baggie of marijuana in plain view sitting on the front seat of a vehicle?
The officer can access the evidence without a warrant because the officer has PC to believe that this is a mobile conveyance, that's it's in a public places, and that it contains evidence of crime.
Does search incident to arrest include trunks of vehicles?
Not unless the trunk may contain further evidence of the crime - the general rule is if the driver has to get out of the vehicle to access the area, then it's not considered within his immediate control.