IN: Officer at front door to do knock-and-talk could look through gap in blinds

Officer who was at front of house to do a knock and talk did not conduct an illegal search when he heard noise inside and looked through a gap in the blinds. Jardines is distinguished, and the court used the same Jardines analogy: “Instead, Officer Shourds did what a girl scout or a trick of treater who approached the door in the same manner would — briefly observe the activity inside the apartment clearly visible from the front door window. The record does not suggest he lingered or attempted to peer through a window not located on the door, actions we explicitly found to violate the Fourth Amendment in J.K. v. State, 8 N.E.3d 222, 232 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014).” Taylor v. State, 2019 Ind. App. LEXIS 133 (Mar. 22, 2019):

Officer Shourds was in area he was permitted to be — outside Taylor’s front door — engaged in legitimate police business — a knock and talk – when he observed in open view what he believed to be criminal activity — Stokes’ possession of drug paraphernalia. Because Taylor had not fully covered his window as to indicate he intended the activities therein to be private, the situation is no different from an officer observing an illegal item on the front porch of a residence. Officer Shourds’ actions did not constitute a search and thus did not violate Taylor’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Trimble v. State, 842 N.E.2d 798, 802 (Ind. 2006) (“The route which any visitor to a residence would use is not private in the Fourth Amendment sense, and thus if police take that route for the purpose of making a general inquiry or for some other legitimate reason, they are free to keep their eyes open.”)

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