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Diane Publishing Books
Abandonment of Items Associated with the Person: A Reprint from “FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin”
Jayme W. Holcomb (au)
This article explores the nuances of the Fourth Amendment issues that typically arise in cases involving abandoned items. Fed. courts will analyze whether individuals abandoning items of property retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the items. The two most significant objective factors considered by fed. courts in making that determination are whether an individual disclaimed or physically relinquished the items. In cases involving the disclaimer of an item, officers should obtain a written or verbal disclaimer from the individual. Officers should avoid concluding that an item has been abandoned in situations where no actual disclaimer is made. In cases involving the physical relinquishment of items, officers should carefully document the nature of the location in which the item was found & should particularly note whether the item was left accessible to others in a public area. Because the govt. has the burden of proving that an item was abandoned, officers should thoroughly & carefully recount in their reports the precise factual circumstances surrounding the disclaimer or physical relinquishment of items. Illus.
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