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Search and Seizure Handbook for Law Officers - Second (Revised) Edition

NCJ Number
D Rutledge
Date Published
232 pages
This guide for law enforcement officers discusses the exclusionary rule and interpretations of the fourth amendment, warrantless searches, obtaining and executing search warrants, and protecting a case from challenges under search and seizure laws.
The first section identifies problems caused by officers' errors in search and seizure to emphasize the need for police to understand basic aspects of search and seizure law. Following a word-by-word analysis of the fourth amendment, the book focuses on search and seizure without a warrant and areas exempt from the fourth amendment, because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Specific examples discussed include 'in plain view,' abandoned property, open fields, public places, eavesdropping, phone monitors, pen registers, jail searches, optical aids, and beepers. The chapter on other exceptions to search warrants defines three levels of police-citizen interactions with their justifications: consensual encounters, detention with articulable suspicion, and arrests. Other areas considered include scope of a warrantless search, stop and frisk, a fleeing suspect, destruction of evidence, border inspection, parole and probation searches, and voluntary consent to a search. Guidelines are presented for both getting and serving search warrants. Finally, the book examines five ways to protect a case from search and seizure challenges, writing a report of a warrantless search and seizure, and testifying at a suppression hearing. Numerous examples and sample forms are provided.