S.D.Ind.: Entry on arrest for person who turned out to be in jail was reasonable; officers exercised diligence in running NCIC report before entry

Officers had an arrest warrant for a man living in defendant’s home. They ran another NCIC check immediately before going to the door. It turned out that the person they were looking for was in jail at the moment, but the NCIC check wouldn’t show that. On opening the door, they asked to be let in and they were [consent not decided]. Looking for the arrestee, the officers saw drugs and paraphernalia and smelled drugs. That was sufficient to get a search warrant. United States v. Partida-Chavez, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139710 (S.D.Ind. Oct. 6, 2016):

In response, the Government asserts that Officer Wilkerson conducted due diligence by reviewing and printing the IMPD warrant report and running a search in the NCIC database minutes prior to entering the residence in search of Luna. Even if officers had called or made another computer check upon arrival to the residence to determine whether the warrant was active, the result would have been the same. On April 6, 2016, both the IMPD warrant report and the NCIC database showed an active warrant for Luna and listed 6331 West Ray Street as the service address. Courts uniformly recognize that “NCIC printouts are reliable enough to form the basis of the reasonable belief [] needed to establish probable cause for arrest.” United States v. McDonald, 606 F.2d 552, 554 (5th Cir. 1979); see also United States v. Martinez-Jimenez, 464 F.3d 1205, 1210-11 (10th Cir. 2006); United States v. Goetz, 153 F. App’x 918, 920 (5th Cir. 2005); United States v. Hines, 564 F.2d 925, 927 (10th Cir. 1977); United States v. Palmer, 536 F.2d 1278, 1283 (9th Cir. 1976); United States v. Godwin, 522 F.2d 1135, 1136 (4th Cir. 1975). Assuming Partida had informed officers that Luna was in jail, it would be unreasonable to require officers to simply believe Partida’s statement and leave the residence without first sweeping the premises. It was perfectly reasonable for officers to proceed with entry and a sweep of the residence in an attempt to locate and arrest Luna. When considering all facts and circumstances known to the officers, they clearly had probable cause to reasonably believe that Luna was within his residence.

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