Search Review: What Is a Search?

Fourth Amendment: What Is a Search?

Before moving to the next chapter, students may wish to review the definition of “search” by considering these examples. Instructions: Write “is,” “is not,” or “may be” in each blank. If your answer is “may be,” jot down in the margin why you are unsure. Each problem is independent of all other ones. 


  1. If a police officer uses a car to follow a suspect who is driving from home to work, that _________________ a search.

  2. If a police officer flies a helicopter fifty feet above the ground and uses binoculars to look into a house window, that _________________ a search.

  3. If a police officer rifles through a suspect’s paper recycling before the sanitation department collects it (and removes an itemized credit card bill), that _________________ a search.

  4. If a police officer borrows a rare super-sensitive microphone from the CIA and points it at a living room window from across the street, thereby capturing the window vibrations and listening to the conversations of people inside, that _________________ a search.

  5. If a police department deploys officers in shifts 24/7 to watch a house, writing down the description of everyone who comes and goes, that _________________ a search.

  6. If a police officer chases a robbery suspect from the scene of a bank robbery, and the officer follows the sprinting subject into a nearby house, that _________________ a search. 


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Criminal Procedure: Undergraduate Edition Copyright © 2022 by Christopher E. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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