I’m studying for my Law class and need an explanation.
Tom Jackson, hotel manager, called the police about the smell of marijuana outside of Room 777 at the lexington Motel that he and other employees had detected. Jackson informed the police dispatcher that the room was rented to a guest named Ray Deek, who had been registered as a single occupant, but a number of visitors were observed going in and out regularly during the week preceding the recent election. The police in checking their data bank found that Ray Deek had a number of older criminal charges, including election related felonies, and a conviction for marijuana possession, over eight ounces, a felony in Kentucky.
The city police dispatcher sent an officer to the lexington Motel, and this officer, John Carter, again spoke with Tom Jackson, who confirmed the conversation with the police dispatcher. Pointedly, the officer asked Tom Jackson if he saw Ray Deek, or any of his visitors, smoking marijuana, and the manager answered that neither he nor his staff had actually seen anything of this nature, only smelled what they thought was marijuana.
Officer Carter proceeded to Room No. 777, and knocked on the door. A young male, John Paul, age 15, (although younger looking), answered the door. Officer Carter told John Paul about the complaint of marijuana odor and asked permission to enter the room. At First, John Paul was hesitant and said he could not let them in. Officer Carter responded that if he were not permitted inside he would secure the premises and obtain a search warrant. Upon hearing Officer Carter’s intentions the youngster said okay.
Once in the room, Officer Carter observed in plain view various drugs, including a lot of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia, along with two other male individuals. As it turns out, one of the individuals was Ray Deek, the person who had rented the room, and the other was John Paul’s father Buffalo “Bill” Jenkins. All three were arrested and lodged in jail.
You are the assistant prosecutor, and are asked to address any Fourth Amendment issues in a memorandum of law to your supervising attorney. Be certain to fully develop and discuss all Fourth Amendment issues.
What constitutes a search?