IN: Plain view applied to vehicle seizure in driveway

Plain view justified the seizure of defendant’s van in his driveway, even assuming it was on the curtilage. It was immediately apparent to the officers it was criminal evidence. Combs v. State, 2021 Ind. LEXIS 358 (June 3. 2021). n.5:

It is not a foregone conclusion that Combs’ front driveway was curtilage, even though it was-at least physically-“intimately linked to the home.” California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207, 213 (1986). The Supreme Court of the United States has provided four non-exclusive factors to help determine whether an area is curtilage: its proximity to the home, its location in an enclosure surrounding the home, its uses, and steps taken to protect it from public view. United States v. Dunn, 480 U.S. 294, 301 (1987); see also Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 936 (Ind. 2006) (acknowledging and applying the Dunn factors). The first heavily weighs in favor of curtilage, as the front driveway is attached to the home. The remaining weigh against. The driveway is not within an enclosure surrounding the home, its uses are open, and Combs took no steps to protect it from public view. But because “these factors are useful analytical tools,” not a rigid test, Dunn, 480 U.S. at 301, we err on the side of caution and assume it was curtilage for our analysis.

This entry was posted in Curtilage, Plain view, feel, smell. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.