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Arizona v Hicks 1987 Facts A bullet was fired through the floor of the defendants apartment into the apartment below and struck an individual who then called the police Police responded to the incident and went first to the apartment of the origin of the bullet The defendant Hicks was not in the apartment at the time but officers found and seized three firearms and a stocking-cap mask which were in plain sight One of the officers then noticed two sets of stereo equipment that look displaced in the otherwise shabby apartment After moving two turntables from on top of the equipment the officer recorded their serial numbers and found them to be property stolen in a recent armed robbery Mr Hicks was found and charged with various crimes released and now the state appeals Procedural History The prosecution argued that since there were exigent circumstances to search the defendants home any evidence found in plain sight was seized legally The defense contested the validity of the search claiming that the search of the stereo equipment was unwarranted based on its appearance alone and violated the defendants Fourth Amendment rights The defendant is found guilty of the initial charges but all evidence relating to the robbery charges is ruled fruit of an unlawful search by the state trial court and the Arizona Court of Appeals When the Arizona Supreme Court denied review the United States Supreme Court accepted the States request for a hearing Issue Was their probable cause to search the stereo equipment based on its appearance alone Holding Yes The stereo equipment seized in the search was suppressed Reasoning The Supreme Court first ruled that the warrantless entry by the officers under the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement was valid The court then ruled that the recording of the equipments serial numbers did not constitute a search or seizure However when the officer moved the turntable it was held to be
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