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Thread: Can Police Search a Backpack Found in Plain View in a Home Without a Warrant?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    However, if the police had probable cause to believe that there was a lot more contraband in the home, I don't think that the fact that Burroughs was already in custody would prevent the police from obtaining a warrant for a thorough search of the premises.
    Correct, they can secure the scene and get a warrant.
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    Agree.
    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​
    "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -- James Madison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    There is quite a bit of case law in various states supporting the 'plain view' exception as it applies to the interior of one's home if the police have entered legally and the police officer has probable cause to believe that the item observed is contraband or evidence. One on point argument for permitting the 'plain view' exception is that a delay to obtain a search warrant might result in the destruction of evidence.
    How is the backpack contraband or evidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captdon View Post
    How is the backpack contraband or evidence?
    Apparently a baggie of marijuana was sticking out of the backpack, in 'plain view' of the police officer or so the officer states.
    "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGUtley View Post
    Oral Argument Preview: Can Law Enforcement Search a Backpack Found in Plain View in a Residence Without a Warrant? State of Ohio v. Kennedy M. Burroughs


    On October 27, 2021, the Supreme Court of Ohio will hear oral argument in State of Ohio v. Kennedy M. Burroughs, 2020-1304. At issue in this case is whether law enforcement officers can search a partially open backpack, found in plain view inside an individual’s home, without a search warrant. This case will be argued at the University of Akron School of Law.

    On January 27, 2019, Marion Police Department officers executed a warrant for Kennedy Burrough’s arrest at her home for misdemeanor obstruction of justice. After officers announced their presence, Burroughs quickly shut and locked the door and was seen through a window picking up plastic baggies and hurrying to the back of the house. When officers entered the house, they could smell marijuana and saw various contraband around the house. During a search of the home, officers found a partially open backpack in plain view with a plastic baggie hanging out of it in the bathroom. Later, a lieutenant, checking the house for weapons, opened the backpack and found marijuana inside of it. Burroughs was subsequently indicted on one count of possession of marijuana in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(3), a fifth-degree felony.

    At trial, Burroughs filed a motion to suppress evidence, and alleged that law enforcement unlawfully searched the backpack they found in her home. Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge Jason Warner found that the police were lawfully permitted to open the backpack since it was both found in plain view and officers had probable cause to believe that it contained contraband. Burroughs pled no contest, was found guilty, and sentenced to two years of community control. Burroughs appealed.

    In a decision written by Judge William Zimmerman, joined by Judge Stephen Shaw, the Third District affirmed the trial court’s decision. Judge John Willamowski dissented.
    The SC of Ohio accepted review.

    Preview here: Oral Argument Preview: Can Law Enforcement Search a Backpack Found in Plain View in a Residence Without a Warrant? State of Ohio v. Kennedy M. Burroughs - Legally Speaking Ohio


    Court of appeals decision: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/pd...pdf=893510.pdf


    Supreme Court briefs: Public Docket (ohio.gov)
    It sounds like they did have a warrant: "Marion Police Department officers executed a warrant for Kennedy Burrough’s arrest at her home for misdemeanor obstruction of justice."

    She then evaded the police, which in itself is another crime, and that gave them sufficient cause to go in after her, and during the commission of a crime, any evidence discovered out in the open during the pursuit is admissible.

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