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Name: United States v. Stafford
Case #: 04-30134
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/03/2005

The plain view doctrine justified the seizure of weapons from a dwelling during a legal but warrantless search. Officers’ warrantless entry into an apartment was justified under the emergency doctrine, where the officers reasonably believed that there was possibly a dead body inside the unit and they could reasonably fear that someone was possibly injured inside as well, where the officers’ primary purpose for entering the unit was not to obtain evidence, and where the search was tailored to the basis for the emergency. The emergency doctrine does not require the government to show that a telephonic warrant was either unavailable or impractical. One judge dissented, writing that the warrantless search was not justified by the emergency doctrine because there was clearly probable cause to believe that evidence of crime was to be found in the apartment, but very little reason to believe that an emergency entrance was required.