FL2: Fireman reported to LEO that he saw drugs in house; police entry couldn’t rely on inevitable discovery where no effort to get warrant

A fire happened at defendant’s house, and the firefighters put it out. They saw some drugs and drug paraphernalia in the garage and told the police. On resweeping the house yet a second time for no apparent reason other than to look for drugs they found marijuana in cooler. The inevitable discovery doctrine can’t be involved by the state because the officers made no effort to get a warrant. They just entered and then pled inevitable discovery. Young v. State, 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15272 (Fla. 2d DCA Oct. 14, 2016):

However, the guns and cash found pursuant to the postdetention search should have been suppressed because the inevitable discovery doctrine does not apply to the facts here. The trial court reasoned that the inevitable discovery doctrine applied because the police had a sufficient basis to obtain a search warrant based on the evidence found in plain view. The trial court cited Rodriguez v. State, 129 So. 3d 1135 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013), for the proposition that the police did not have to be in the process of obtaining a warrant for the inevitable discovery doctrine to apply. However, the supreme court later reversed Rodriguez and explicitly found that “permitting warrantless searches without the prosecution demonstrating that the police were in pursuit of a warrant is not a proper application of the inevitable discovery rule.” Rodriguez v. State, 187 So. 3d 841, 849 (Fla. 2015).

Here, the officers readily admitted they had not endeavored to obtain a search warrant at the time they searched Young’s house. Further, the State cannot rely on Young’s alleged consent to the search because the trial court found that consent to be involuntary—a finding that is binding on this court. See Cillo, 849 So. 2d at 354. Moreover, the State was unable to show any exigency that would have allowed another search of Young’s house after he and his girlfriend were detained. Therefore, because the guns and cash were seized pursuant to an unlawful search, the trial court erred when it did not suppress this evidence.

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