inadvertent discovery


in·​ad·​ver·​tent discovery
: unexpected finding of incriminating evidence in plain view by the police compare inevitable discovery

Note: In Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443 (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court held that evidence found by inadvertent discovery may be seized under the plain view exception to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures. In Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128 (1990), however, the Court, while not overturning Coolidge, decided that inadvertent discovery is not a necessary condition for application of the plain view exception to seizures.

Dictionary Entries Near inadvertent discovery

Cite this Entry

“Inadvertent discovery.” Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

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