Upholding a Search Warrant's Valid Portion in New York

In People v. Brown (96 NY2d 80, 749 NE2d 170, 725 NYS2d 601 [2001]) the Court of Appeals found a search warrant which authorized the seizure of four specific items relevant to the defendant's alleged theft of a tractor along with "any other property the possession of which would be considered contraband" to be overbroad with respect to that final clause. The Court noted that to meet the Fourth Amendment's particularity requirement the directive in a warrant "must be specific enough to leave no discretion to the executing officer." (96 NY2d at 84.) The Brown Court nevertheless found that the valid portion of the warrant describing the four specific items could be severed from the invalid part and upheld the seizure of guns found in plain view during the execution of the warrant's valid portion.