People v. Reynolds

In People v Reynolds, 672 P2d 529 (Colo, 1983), at approximately 3:00 a.m., police responded to an emergency call about a shooting and were admitted into the defendant's house by the victim's daughter. Id. at 531. The police found the victim's body in a locked bedroom and promptly placed the defendant under arrest. Id. Other officers soon arrived and, during a warrantless security sweep of the house, they saw in plain view an empty liquor bottle, several handwritten notes and a revolver. Id. At 4:30 a.m., crime lab investigators entered the house without a warrant, seized the plain view evidence and took photographs and measurements of the murder scene. Id. The investigators then conducted a thorough search of the home after obtaining a search warrant at 7:00 a.m. Id. On appeal, the district attorney claimed that the trial court improperly suppressed the photographs and diagrams made by the crime lab investigators. Reynolds, supra, 672 P2d 531. The Colorado Supreme Court concluded that the first officers entered the home legitimately pursuant to both the exigent circumstances exception and the consent doctrine. Id. at 531-532. The Court further held that the officers discovered the seized evidence in plain view while legitimately inside the house. Id. at 532. Furthermore, the Court held that police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by failing to obtain a warrant before photographing and diagramming the scene because they were merely documenting what officers lawfully saw in plain view as part of a continuing police investigation. Id. at 533.