M.D.Ala.: Unmarked pill bottle with apparent crack in it was in plain view during protective sweep after arrest in house |

While “the association between illegal activity and a pill bottle merely observed generally depends on something more than the presence of a pill bottle alone,” see Mason v. City of Warren Police Dept., 2011 WL 5025841, at *6 (E. D. Mich. 2011), the government has met the applicable standard. The officers were required only to have probable cause to associate the object with criminal activity. See Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730, 741-2, 103 S. Ct. 1535, 1543, 75 L. Ed. 2d 502 (1983). “[P]robable cause is a flexible, common-sense standard. It merely requires that the facts available to the officer would ‘warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief,’ Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 162, 45 S.Ct. 280, 288, 69 L.Ed. 543 (1925), that certain items may be contraband or stolen property or useful as evidence of a crime; it does not demand any showing that such a belief be correct or more likely true than false. A ‘practical, nontechnical’ probability that incriminating evidence is involved is all that is required. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 176, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 1311, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949).” Id. at 741. As the Supreme Court has observed, “[t]he process does not deal with hard certainties, but with probabilities. Long before the law of probabilities was articulated as such, practical people formulated certain common-sense conclusions about human behavior; jurors as factfinders are permitted to do the same — and so are law enforcement officers. Finally, the evidence thus collected must be seen and weighed not in terms of library analysis by scholars, but as understood by those versed in the field of law enforcement.” Id.
— Read on fourthamendment.com/

The definition of probable cause needs to be scaled back. This is ridiculous. What happened to being secured in your home. This was a warrantless search of a home conducted after a person was arrested on a warrant. The exceptions to warrantless searches are coming dangerously close to swallowing the fourth amendment and rendering it meaningless.

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