Saturday, November 2, 2013

Arizona v. Hicks case brief

Arizona v. Hicks case brief summary
480 U.S. 321 (1987)

The State sought certiorari review of a judgment from the Court of Appeals of Arizona, which affirmed the trial court's grant of defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized in plain view during a warrantless search of a private area as violative of the Fourth Amendment. The Arizona Supreme Court denied review.


  • When law enforcement officers entered defendant's apartment under exigent circumstances after a bullet was fired into the apartment below, two sets of expensive stereo equipment were noticed by one of the officers. 
  • He thought these anomalous in the context of the squalor of the apartment, and moved some of the components in order to read and record their serial numbers. 
  • When, after phoning the numbers into headquarters, it was confirmed that a turntable had been taken in an armed robbery, the officer seized the equipment, and defendant was subsequently indicted for robbery. 

  • The Court affirmed the appellate court's affirmance of the trial court's order granting defendant's motion to suppress the evidence that had been seized, holding that the officer's moving of the equipment constituted a "search" separate and apart from the search for the shooter, victims, and weapons that was the lawful objective of his entry. 
  • Such a search was not "reasonable" under the Fourth Amendment because it was not sustainable under the "plain view" doctrine absent probable cause, which was not present by the State's admission.


The Court affirmed the judgment granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence due to a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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