Can Police Look Into An Uncovered Window In California ?
In People v. Camacho (2000) 23 Cal.4th 824, the officers went to a grassy area between houses and looked into an uncovered window.
The court decided that the police had no legal right to be in the side yard and that given all the circumstances the defendant's expectation of privacy was reasonable.
In Camacho, the court reasoned:
"Officers Wood and Mora were not, of course, standing on a public thoroughfare when they observed defendant packaging cocaine; they were in his yard. Nevertheless, their observations would not constitute a search (in the constitutional sense) and thus not violate the Fourth Amendment if they were standing in a place where they otherwise had a right to be. This case thus turns on whether Officers Wood and Mora were legally entitled, under all the circumstances, to be in defendant's side yard." (Id. at pp. 831-832.)