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Home / Courts / Justices drop inadvertence prong from plain-view exception (access required)

Justices drop inadvertence prong from plain-view exception (access required)

Deputies who broke up a dog-fighting operation after spotting dogs, spectators and a fight pit at a Clarendon County home in 2006 didn't have to discover the site inadvertently to legally seize evidence without a warrant. So said the state Supreme Court in a groundbreaking decision that did away with one of three criteria that police previously had to satisfy under the "plain view" exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. "In Horton, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the first prong of the plain-view doctrine, which is that the police officers are in a place where they have a legal right to be, and then the last prong, which is that the incriminating nature of the evidence is readily apparent. Those two prongs were sufficient to restrict the likelihood of police misconduct," said Assistant Attorney General Deborah R.J. Shupe (pictured) of Columbia.

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