Grice Court Cases

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By failing to condemn or even analyze the detectives’ actions, the Grice court paid little heed to the Supreme Court’s principle that “an officer’s leave to gather information is sharply circumscribed when he steps off [public] thoroughfares and enters the Fourth Amendment’s protected areas.” By ruling as it did, the Grice court handed down an overly-generous interpretation of a license’s scope, the implications of which are worrisome to the future of Fourth Amendment protected areas.
The events in Grice transpired on Fourth Amendment protected property. In North Carolina, it is generally agreed that driveways, pathways, porches, lawns, and other areas that must be traversed in order to reach the front door of a private house are classified
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As previously discussed, a homeowner impliedly invites guests to enter their property by hanging a knocker. But in Grice, the proverbial knocker certainly was not hung. To the contrary, the front door was barricaded with furniture and covered with plastic. It seems troubling that even when a person has barricaded the door of his house, there was not even a whisper from the Grice court wondering if the implied license might have been revoked. By way of example, several circuits have held that a homeowner may limit the license and create a reasonable expectation of privacy on their curtilage by surrounding it with a fence and gate. Nor did the Grice court consider the fact that there was no path or sign directing visitors to the driveway or to the side door, which could suggest that Grice neither invited nor expected members of the public to be in the driveway or at the side door. Perhaps no guest had ever discovered, much less attempted to use this side door at the end of a long, dirt driveway in a rural area. By remaining silent, the court implies that even if the defendant could reasonably expect privacy in his backyard, that privacy interest

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