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LegalGround >> Search and Seizure Question


7/24/09 10:44 PM
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sux@bjj
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Say you and some friends are hanging out in your home, drinking beers, playing pool, and a couple people are smoking marijuana on a couch.

then say one of the friends starts to feel faint and drops to the floor like a sack of potatoes. you don't know why / what happened as he wasn't drinking. as the homeowner who has been drinking a little...you call 911...rather than driving him to th ER.

the cops / paramedics arrive and haul your friend off on a stretcher. it turns out he's diabetic and had very low blood sugar. his system has no alcohol nor drugs in it.

while at your house however, a cop at the scene began walking through the house asking guests "what happened". while questioning one guest he notices an ashtray with a joint in it under a table. this causes the officer to look closer under the tabel where he finds a small bag of what appears / smells like marijuana. does he then have the right to make an arrest on you / the homeowner for posesion of marijuana?

hypothetically speaking...
7/25/09 2:53 PM
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J Flip
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I'm sure others could answer this better, but if it was in plain view and the officer had permission to be inside the house then it seems valid.

This seems like the sort of thing that a good attorney would have a good chance of fighting -- a lot of it depends on the facts: how much did the officer walk around? how far under the table was the weed? how obvious was it that it was weed? did the cop have permission to stay in the house? was he ever asked to leave? move to a different room? could the finger be pointed at someone else who actually possessed the weed instead of the homeowner?

If the att'y could convince the court that looking under the table was a search then he would have had to get a warrant for it to be valid.
7/25/09 4:02 PM
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J Flip
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hah. fair enough.
7/26/09 12:22 AM
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Shaz
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J Flip - I'm sure others could answer this better, but if it was in plain view and the officer had permission to be inside the house then it seems valid.

This seems like the sort of thing that a good attorney would have a good chance of fighting -- a lot of it depends on the facts: how much did the officer walk around? how far under the table was the weed? how obvious was it that it was weed? did the cop have permission to stay in the house? was he ever asked to leave? move to a different room? could the finger be pointed at someone else who actually possessed the weed instead of the homeowner?

If the att'y could convince the court that looking under the table was a search then he would have had to get a warrant for it to be valid.
As long as the judge follows the law, I don't care how good the attorney is (hell it could even be bflex!)  Under the hypo as given the cop did absolutely nothing wrong.

-Shaz!
 
7/28/09 1:23 AM
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KenTheWalrus
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As long as the officer is in a lawful position (which he was if you invited him in) anything he can see is fair game.

If he had to move something in order to see what it was (like picking up a magazine covering the ashtray), then you might have something.

Otherwise, if it was just sitting under a table, yet visible to the eye, it will probably be upheld in court.

My question is why was there a cop in the house to begin with? If you called emergency services for a medical emergency why was there a cop? In my experience, in a purely medical emergency like someone passing out, the cops only come if they will be the first on scene. Even then they can't do very much if anything medically related, so why would a cop be inside the house? -ken
7/28/09 1:24 PM
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Shaz
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 If you call 911 they'll usually send police because they can get there quicker than the ambulance and they all have medical training, at the very least CPR, they can also call in for more specific assistance.

-Shaz!
7/28/09 11:14 PM
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KenTheWalrus
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Shaz -  If you call 911 they'll usually send police because they can get there quicker than the ambulance and they all have medical training, at the very least CPR, they can also call in for more specific assistance.

-Shaz!


Hmm.. I've called 911 on a number of occasions for elderly family members and the police have never showed up for any medical emergency that I called in. That may just be my local area though. -ken
7/29/09 5:54 PM
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GladiatorGannon
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Shaz -  If you call 911 they'll usually send police because they can get there quicker than the ambulance and they all have medical training, at the very least CPR, they can also call in for more specific assistance.

-Shaz!


we get sent to medicals all the time.
8/3/09 3:08 AM
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piratepirate
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Yes, absolutely a legit arrest.

You called 911 and didn't put your pot away? Come on.

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