The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Somewhat similar in rationale is the rule that objects falling in the
plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure without a warrant1 or that, if the officer needs a warrant or probable cause to search and seize, his lawful observation will provide grounds therefor.2 The plain view doctrine is limited, however, by the probable cause requirement: officers must have probable cause to believe that items in plain view are contraband before they may search or seize them.3
The Court has analogized from the plain view doctrine to hold that, once officers have lawfully observed contraband,
the owner’s privacy interest in that item is lost, and officers may reseal a container, trace its path through a controlled delivery, and seize and reopen the container without a warrant.4