Two officers were walking in a neighborhood known for high volumes of drug deals. They came across the car of an individual whom they had arrested two years prior for drug dealing. The car was parked on a curb in front of a residence.
One officer peeked inside the car, the other walked down the sidewalk to the house and up to the corner of the wooden fence surrounding the house. The second officer noticed a strange looking garden in the yard through the cracks of the fence. He put his foot in a small hole at the bottom of the fence and pulled his head up over the fence looking into the yard and noticed several plants that resembled marijuana growing in the yard.
He informed the other officer and they walked around to the back of the house to see if the owner of the house was home. As they walked around the house, three men in the back of the house noticed the officers through the cracks of the fence and quickly went inside the house. The officers then jumped over the fence and approached the house, ordering all occupants out of the house.
When questioned about the plants, the house owner admitted that it was marijuana. He was arrested.
- Were the marijuana plants spotted by the officer in plain view under California v. Ciraolo? Why?
- What details could be added to the scenario to increase the likelihood that the marijuana plants were in plain view? Explain. What details could be added to the scenario to decrease the likelihood that the marijuana plants were in plain view?
- If the marijuana plants were spotted legally, did the officers then have the right to walk around the house? Explain.
- Did the officers have a right to jump the fence and order everyone out of the house? Explain.
- Did the officers have a right to make the arrest under Illinois v. McArthur? Explain.