Finding Weapons That Were Not Described in the Search Warrant in New York

In People v. Brown, 96 N.Y.2d 80, 89, 749 N.E.2d 170 (2001), the police discovered two weapons that were not described in the search warrant. One weapon was discovered wrapped in plastic and secreted in a floor vent. The other weapon was discovered wrapped in a cloth, hidden in a jar underneath a bathroom sink. The Brown Court acknowledged that the permissible scope of a search pursuant to a warrant is "largely a factual determination involving the size and character of the enumerated object and where one would reasonably look for it." Id. at 89. The Brown Court held that a warrant authorizing a search for a key, a VIN plate and a chain allowed the police to permissibly access the floor vent and unwrap the object found inside and to open the jar and unwrap the item found under the sink. Id. at 90. The Court held that the warrant gave the police authority to open any container that might contain the items described in the warrant. Id.