Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Search and Seizure
The words “search and seizure” are associated with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” These words presuppose state action; that is, the Fourth Amendment is applicable only if a law enforcement agent or a private citizen acting at the behest of the police conducted the search or seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court currently defines the Fourth Amendment term search as a police intrusion upon a legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy. A mere subjective belief that an activity or object is private is insufficient to trigger Fourth Amendment protection. The expectation of privacy must be one that, in the view of the courts, society acknowledges. Thus, police rummaging through trash placed at curbside in closed opaque containers is not considered a search in the Fourth Amendment sense, because the Supreme Court has concluded that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in California ...