Plain view discoveries and Miranda rights An overview of plain view discoveries and how evidence can be seized through plain view discoveries without violating a person’s 4th Amendment Rights.
The implication of plain view discoveries is a rule at the disposal of officers responsible with enforcing law that empowers them to conduct search and seizure while they do not make use of search warrants in a situation that substantial evidence with regard to an evident crime without a search or an entry (Smart, 2005). The officer in this case is empowered to conduct seizure without necessarily having a warrant if some evidence is plainly evident in the course of lawful observation; a good example is a pistol at the seat of a car seen by a police officer during routine patrol.
To safeguard the victim against violating the 4th Amendment Rights, the law enforcement officer must possess the lawful right of access to any object that is the cause of the arrest and the object that is the cause must have “immediately apparent “incriminating features (Smart, 2005). Furthermore, the law officer must possess credible reasons to attribute the item to crime evidence or it is actually contraband (Smart, 2005). The position of the item must not be altered to improve its view. Any officer who attempts an item with crime evidence or contraband devoid of probable cause is deemed to have acted unlawfully. Any actions by the law officer to move the item is said to have constituted a search and this therefore becomes unlawfully on the basis of the 4th Amendment Rights. An expansion of plain view discoveries has accommodated plain feel, plain hearing as well as plain smell in this doctrine (Smart, 2005).
Miranda rights refer to a warning that is given to a criminal suspect under custodial interrogation by law enforcement officers prior to their interrogation for the purpose of preservation of statement admissibility during proceedings in a court of law (Stigall, 2009). The ultimate objective of Miranda rights is protection of the “Fifth Amendment right” of the suspect in response to negative response to any questions that may be self-incriminating at the time of a court proceeding. The effectiveness of Miranda rights is only evident after a suspect has been arrested. Before a suspect has been arrested, the law officer has all the rights to question the suspect in a voluntary environment and the answers derived in the process becomes admissible at the time of trial in a court of law. In case the suspect is arrested, any statements made either voluntarily or spontaneously can constitute evidence at the time of trial (Stigall, 2009).
Miranda rights have significantly impacted policing in California because of their nature as procedure rule in preventive crime at the disposal of law officers towards protection of people held in custody and may be interrogated while avoiding any potential compelled self-incrimination as well as possible violation of their “Fifth Amendment right” (Stigall, 2009). In case the law officers interrogate any custodial suspect without giving him or her Miranda warning, they can use the information obtained in any other way they deem fit but the information cannot incriminate the suspect during any court proceeding (Stigall, 2009).
- Stigall, D. E., (2009). Counterterrorism and the Comparative Law of Investigative Detention. Amherst, NY: Cambria.
- Smart, T., (2005). In Plain Sight: The Startling Truth Behind the Elizabeth Smart Investigation. Chicago Review Press.