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Plain View – Generally

State v. Shaun E. Kelley, 2005 WI App 199
For Kelley: Gregory Bates


¶15      An officer has the right to access objects in plain view while searching within the scope of the consent.  See State v. Johnson, 187 Wis. 2d 237, 242, 522 N.W.2d 588 (Ct. App. 1994). In order for the plain view doctrine to apply, three requirements must be met:

First, the evidence must be in plain view. Second, the police officer must have a lawful right of access to the object. Third, the incriminating character of the object must be immediately apparent, meaning the police must show they had probable cause to believe the object was evidence or contraband.

State v. Ragsdale, 2004 WI App 178, ¶17, 276 Wis. 2d 52, 687 N.W.2d 785. Here, all three elements were satisfied. The officer searched under the bed, where a phone handset could have been hidden. He discovered several photos, which he recognized immediately to be child pornography. Thus, the pictures were lawfully seized.


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