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The Case of Arizona v. Hicks of 1986 Essay

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The Case of Arizona v. Hicks took place in 1986; the case was decided in 1987. It began on April 18th 1984, with a bullet that was shot through the floor in Hick’s apartment; it had injured a man in the room below him. An investigation took place. Officers were called to the scene. They entered Mr. Hicks’ apartment and discovered three weapons and a black stocking mask.
The officers began to search the apartment without a warrant. As the officers continued searching, one of them (Officer Nelson) found some expensive stereo equipment. The officer had a hunch that the equipment was stolen, so he moved the stereos to record the serial numbers. He then called police headquarters and it was confirmed that indeed the stereo equipment had been stolen. The officers then seized the stereo equipment.
The impact that this case had on the Constitution and Amendments was that of determining if this officer had done a search beyond the demands of the original search, and if he had violated the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments.
In fact the officer did violate the Amendments; this was determined by the officer only having reasonable suspicion, not probable cause to seize the items under the “plain view” doctrine. His actions were not backed up by the U.S. Constitution.
The court for this case found that the search and seizure of the stereo violated the fourth and fourteenth Amendments. The Decision was 6 votes for Hicks and 3 votes against.
I felt that this case was handled well, but only to the point of where the officer began to move the stereo equipment and search for the serial number and write it down. He had no right to move Mr. Hicks’ items, the officers where there to make an arrest not to search the area or to touch Mr. Hicks’ p...


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...ke was not getting a search warrant, and going beyond the original search.
Overall this was a great case to read. Arizona v. Hicks held that the 4th Amendment requires the police to have probable cause to seize items in plain view. Again the major facts of this case were that the police had initial entry into Hick’s apartment. Even though it took place without a warrant.
The officers had done an added search by moving the stereos without Hick’s permission. The whole reason for the officers to be there was to search for weapons and evidence not to search for a missing or stolen stereo.
Also another fact one of the justices, Justice O’Connor disagreed with the outcome of the case. She said it was called a, “Cursory Inspection” she went on saying the officers could do the search based on reasonable suspicion that the object was evidence of a criminal activity.



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