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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97545 Find in a Library
Title: US v Jacobsen
Corporate Author: Charles S Maccrone Productions
United States of America
Date Published: 1984
Sponsoring Agency: Charles S Maccrone Productions
Aptos, CA 95003
Not Available Through National Institute of Justice/NCJRS Document Loan Program
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: Not Available Through National Institute of Justice/NCJRS Document Loan Program
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This police training video cassette, accompanied by an audio cassette, reenacts the incident that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Jacobsen and summarizes the principles of that decision: law enforcement officers can duplicate a private search to observe firsthand what the private citizen has reported, but if they go beyond the scope of the private search, the reasonableness of the conduct must be assessed by balancing the individual's fourth amendment interests against the government's interests.
Abstract: During their examination of a damaged package, employees of a private freight carrier observed a white powdery substance concealed in a tube inside the package. The employees did not reseal the package and notified the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). When a DEA agent arrived, he removed the tube from the box and the plastic bags from the tube, saw the white powder, opened the bags, removed a trace of the powder, subjected it to a field test, and determined it was cocaine. A warrant was obtained to search the place to which the package was addressed, and subsequent to execution of the warrant, the defendants were arrested. Defendants moved to suppress the evidence on the grounds that moved to suppress the evidence on the grounds that the warrant was the product of an illegal search and seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the fourth amendment did not require the DEA agent to obtain a warrant, stating that the Federal agents did not infringe upon any constitutionally protected privacy interests that had not already been frustrated as a result of private conduct. It found that the DEA agent's removal of the plastic bags and visual inspection of their contents enabled him to learn nothing that had not previously been learned from the private search and that infringement caused by the field test was constitutionally reasonable. Accompanying the video is a booklet that summarizes the incident and the case's progress through the courts, as well as the rationale for the Supreme Court's decision.
Index Term(s): Police legal training; Right of privacy; Search and seizure laws; Search and seizure training; US Supreme Court decisions; Videotapes; Warrantless search
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Video cassette, 14 minutes in length, color, rental is available from sales source.
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