Plain Touch Doctrine

Overview 3 m_mi_tin.
The plain touch doctrine is a legal g whacking].
principle that allows a police officer a
to seize any contraband that the
officer can immediately and clearly
identify by touch while conducting a
legal pat-down search. In Minnesota v. Dickerson (1993), the Supreme Court held: ‘If a police
officer lawfully pats down a suspect’s outer clothing and feels an object whose contour or mass
makes its identity immediately apparent, there has been no invasion of the suspect‘s privacy
beyond that already authorized by the officer‘s search for weapons; if the object is contraband,
its warrantiess seizure would be justified by the same practical considerations that inhere in the
plain-view context.’
For your assignment, prepare a three-page training memo, citing a minimum of two
academically verified sources, to be distributed to rookie officers in your department during
their training regarding proper criminal procedure with respect to the plain touch doctrine.
In your memo:

0 Articulate legally compliant procedural steps for a criminal justice practitioner in a situation

involving the plain touch doctrine.
0 Explain classification of the plain touch doctrine as reasonable or unreasonable for a criminal
justice professional.
0 Examine whether the plain touch doctrine is a threat to 4th Amendment protections.
0 Describe the implications of officers being able to manipulate objects that can be readily felt.


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