Is there a Crime scene investigation exception to the Fourth Amendment ?

Under the law, it is widely agreed that extrajudicial searches and seizures conducted without prior authorization by the magistrate or judge are unreasonable as per the Fourth Amendment. However, there are specific crime scenes that exceptions to the Fourth Amendments should always apply. Among the few specifically well-delineated and established exceptions include murder scenes where the law enforcement agents may carry out a search without a warrant to look for victims of the crime or even the perpetrator of the crime.

Here, any evidence collected may be used against the criminal at the court of law (Crawford, 1999). This would be lawful under the plain view doctrine (Crawford, 1999). Another scenario is a situation where by the law enforcement agents reasonably believe that an individual held in a crime scene premises in danger (Crawford, 1999). However, the search carried out in these situations must be justified by a case of emergency and should be limited to the course of the crime committed.

Beyond such searches, the law enforcement agents can only secure the crime scene waiting for a search warrant so that they can carry out further search. Still, other examples of exceptions to the fourteenth amendment requirement for a search warrant are inventory searches and consent searches (Crawford, 1999). Al this is meant to empower citizens with the right to privacy. The U. S. Supreme Court has often refused to accept investigation of crime scenes involving murder as generally excepted from the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

A good example is in its ruling in Mincey v. Arizona, a homicide case where the Supreme Court asserted that such a search was unlawful and the evidence obtained could not be used against the suspect (Crawford, 1999). Although the Supreme Court has maintained to emphatically stress on such exceptions, there still exist some misconceptions among the officers in the law enforcement department that murder scenes are exempted from the fourteenth amendment requirement for a search warrant.

Differences in understanding the exceptions lie in judging the viability of such exceptions to the mandatory warrant-seeking which protects human rights. These differences have caused misconceptions that have been attributed to the idea of standing. In standing concept, individuals have the right to privacy and will always expect this same privacy in the places or the items to be searched. This kind of privacy is known as the expectation of privacy (REP). A misconception arises when searches are conducted on one individual who does not have the REP.

Individuals without REP have no right to object any illegal searches since they don’t have such standing. The evidence obtained from such searches can be used to detain another person with the REP even when searches are not carried out at murderer with REP. References Crawford, K. (1999). Crime Scene Searches: The Need for Fourth Amendment Complience. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, The. Retrieved May 23, 2010, from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_1_68/ai_54036508/? tag=content;col1