Once a warrant is issued, police can search only the place specified for the items specified in the warrant. However, sometimes a warrant is not legally necessary and evidence can be introduced because the search was reasonable under the circumstances.
While on a routine patrol, Officer Jones heard screaming from within a brick-walled backyard. The officer walked over to the wall and was able to see into the yard, without standing on his toes, where he witnessed two thirteen year old boys in a fistfight. Their clothes were ripped, their eyes were swollen, and their faces were bloody with scratches. Officer Jones ran to the unlocked gate and entered the backyard, where he broke up the fight and separated the boys.
Officer Jones noticed several baggies resting on a patio table, just outside the patio door a few yards away. The officer called for the boys' parents, walking toward the patio's screen door.
The officer could see a white, powdery substance in the baggies as he moved past the table toward the door. A woman exited the house and immediately began explaining the baggies on the table. Jones arrested the woman for drug possession. As he put the cuffs on her, Jones patted her down and found a gun. She was already in handcuffs and no longer a threat to him when he found the weapon.
Your assignment this week is to answer the following questions:
- Officer Jones did not have a warrant at any time.
- Is the drug evidence admissible?
- What about the gun? Explain.