Category Archives: Community caretaking function

E.D.Ky.: It was reasonable for officers to open a car door when the driver was parked and unresponsive

Defendant’s car was parked on a Waffle House parking lot from 2-5 am with the headlights on, and it was reasonable for officers to check on the car. Inside was defendant who didn’t respond to them, and it was reasonable … Continue reading

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CA1: Drunk underage partiers puking outside and going back in justified a community caretaking entry to see if anyone was in distress

Drunk underage partiers puking outside and going back in justified a community caretaking entry to see if anyone was in distress. Castagna v. Jean, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 11357 (1st Cir. Apr. 10, 2020). The use of an administrative warrant … Continue reading

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CA6: Officer in SW affidavit doesn’t have to state he was trained in recognizing odor of MJ

The officer did not have to specify in the affidavit for search warrant that he had specialized training in detecting the smell of marijuana for there to be probable cause. The government showed by a preponderance of the evidence the … Continue reading

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CA11: Officer reasonably mistook dog’s whimper inside for person in distress; entry valid

“The major question presented on appeal is whether it was reasonable for officers, mistaking a dog’s whimper for a person in distress, to enter Evans’s home without a warrant. Given the totality of the circumstances, we say yes.” United States … Continue reading

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NC: Flipping off officer not disorderly conduct; stop suppressed

Flipping off the officer wasn’t disorderly conduct justifying the stop. The community caretaking function also does not apply. State v. Ellis, 2020 N.C. LEXIS 363 (May 1, 2020). The state could not show that defendant’s statements were inevitably discovered from … Continue reading

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IA: Possible presence of runaway 14 yo not exigency for warrantless entry

A runaway child was not an exigency justifying a warrantless entry into defendant’s home. “Today we must decide if a police officer may enter a third party’s residence without a search warrant based on a verbal request from the Iowa … Continue reading

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W.D.Mo.: Inventory for tow after def was taken to hospital was clearly only for community caretaking and not investigation

Defendant was injured in a vehicle accident, and he didn’t respond to the officer’s request about a private tow. The officer arranged a tow, and his inventory of the car was clearly based on the community caretaking function and not … Continue reading

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NH: When an overdose call is made to 911, it isn’t unreasonable for a police officer to enter with EMTs or the FD

When an overdose call is made to 911, it isn’t unreasonable for a police officer to enter with EMTs or the fire department. State v. Eldridge, 2020 N.H. LEXIS 18 (Feb. 19. 2020):

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M.D.Ala.: traffic safety checkpoint was sustained under Delaware v. Prouse

A traffic safety checkpoint was sustained under Delaware v. Prouse. “The 51 citations issued at the checkpoint support Chief Warren’s testimony that the primary purpose of the checkpoint was traffic safety. Accordingly, the record clearly reflects that the checkpoint was … Continue reading

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N.D.Ohio: Apparently suicidal person justified entry into car to ID him

Deputy’s entry into defendant’s car was a bona fide attempt to identify a potentially suicidal person walking toward Lake Erie who’d maybe abandoned the car, wallet, and cell phone. United States v. Pritchard, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25179 (N.D. Ohio … Continue reading

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KS: Def’s stop when she was unconscious in a car was valid as a public safety stop

Defendant was unconscious in a car slumped over at the wheel at 2 am, unresponsive to a spotlight on her. This was valid as a public safety stop. State v. McKenna, 2020 Kan. App. LEXIS 7 (Jan. 31, 2020). “A … Continue reading

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OH5: Officer’s entry into garage following erratic driver was justified as a welfare check on condition of driver, even though she was helped into the house

The officer’s entry into defendant’s garage after the car was parked askew and the door left open justified a welfare check at the door of the house. The officer responded to a 911 call about an erratic driver, and he … Continue reading

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D.Nev.: Govt’s post hoc justification for vehicle search as inventory fails for lack of proof

Attempted inventory suppressed. The government’s proposed community caretaking claim that the neighborhood was high crime meant that they couldn’t leave the car for fear of vandalism isn’t supported by the proof under circuit precedent. It was a post hoc rationalization. … Continue reading

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LA1: Parolee’s positive drug screen justified home search

Defendant’s positive drug screens were reason for an unannounced home and cell phone text message parole search. State v. St. Cyre, 2019 La. App. LEXIS 2305 (La. App. 1 Cir. Dec. 19, 2019). An officer found two people asleep in … Continue reading

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D.N.M.: Def’s car’s impoundment wasn’t justified by community caretaking function or need for inventory

The impoundment of defendant’s car wasn’t justified by either the community caretaking function or need for inventory. Whether the vehicle was even involved in a crime was inconclusive at best. United States v. Trujillo, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201024 (D. … Continue reading

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KS: Welfare check turned into unreasonable seizure without RS

The officer was called to a convenience store for a welfare check of a woman inside who apparently was sick. When she finally came out, she was fine and appeared fine, but the officer, for no apparent reason, escalated the … Continue reading

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