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Crime File: Search and Seizure

NCJ Number
97232
Date Published
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Publication Series
Grant Number(s)
84-IJ-CX-031
Annotation
In this video cassette, number 19 in the Crime File series, three dramatized scenarios of police search and seizure tactics are critiqued as to their legality by a panel consisting of a police officer, a U.S. attorney, and a public defender.
Abstract
Each scenario unfolds in stages, and the panel members comment on the legality of the police behavior in each stage. The first scenario involves a police stop of a vehicle observed to have no license plate, the police observation of shotgun shells on the car seat, a frisk of the driver, an arrest, the search of a briefcase in the car to find a handgun, and the opening of the car trunk. The second scenario involves the police stop of two persons reported by a citizen to look suspicious, the stop and arrest of two persons answering the description of two burglars, a 'pat down' that reveals drugs, and the search of a briefcase that reveals a gun. The third scenario involves the police answering a call to an apartment, where a woman answers the door and complains that the male friend in the apartment had threatened her with a gun. The police frisk the man, find drugs in his coat, make an arrest, and then search the apartment to find a handgun in the bedroom. The panelists agree that a warrantless search of a person is reasonable if there is cause to believe the person has committed a crime or is concealing a weapon. Further, they agree that after an arrest, a warrantless search may be conducted of the immediate vicinity and property at the arrest locality. The panelists often disagree on whether these conditions were met in the dramatized scenarios.
Date Created: March 28, 2019