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Supreme Court will choose whether or not officer can enter storage area after pursuit of misdemeanor suspect


U.S. Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to choose whether or not an officer can enter a storage area with no warrant when in pursuit of a misdemeanor suspect.

The excessive court docket granted cert within the case of Arthur Lange, a California man who sought to suppress proof of alcohol on his breath that led an officer to cost him with driving under the affect. The officer observed the scent whereas in Lange’s storage area after following him house. The officer first observed Lange as a result of he was enjoying loud music and sometimes honking his horn whereas driving his station wagon.

The state contended that the officer might enter Lange’s storage area with no warrant as a result of Lange didn’t cease when the officer activated his overhead lights, which is a misdemeanor offense.

The case entails the Fourth Amendment, which requires police to acquire a warrant earlier than coming into a house, besides in “exigent circumstances,” in keeping with the cert petition. That form of exigency could exist when a police officer is in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, but it surely’s unclear when the exception applies.

The Supreme Court has twice upheld warrantless entries by officers pursuing an armed robber and a drug vendor—each felons. But in a case involving a visitors violation that carried no chance of jail time, the Supreme Court mentioned a warrantless entry for such a minor offense “should rarely be sanctioned.”

The ambiguity has created a circuit break up. Some courts maintain that the pursuit of a misdemeanor suspect at all times qualifies as an exigent circumstance. Others choose on a fact-specific, case-by-case foundation.

The officer who adopted Lange house didn’t activate his siren or instantly activate his overheard lights. When Lange opened his storage area door, the officer turned on his overhead lights. Instead of pulling over, Lange drove into his storage area, and the officer adopted him on foot. As the storage area door was happening, the officer caught his foot under the sensor to open it again up.

In the storage area, the workplace observed the scent of alcohol on Lange’s breath. Lange was charged with driving under the affect and working a automobile sound system at extreme ranges. Lange pleaded no contest to the DUI in Sonoma County, California, after his suppression movement was denied.

The case is Lange v. California.

Publications with protection of the cert grant embrace SCOTUSblog, Courthouse News Service and Bloomberg Law.


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