N.D.Ill.: Mere possibility of destruction of evidence in a house under surveillance isn’t exigency; more required

Officers surveilled defendant’s house for several hours, and finally they entered. The mere possibility of destruction of evidence isn’t exigency. Here, however, other officers and an AUSA were in the process of working on a search warrant, and that had an independent source. United States v. Montoya-Pena, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152445 (N.D.Ill. Nov. 3, 2016).

Based on Oko’s testimony, the agents had not seen any activity at the House from 1:12 p.m. (when the agents observed Defendant leaving the House) until 6:30 p.m. on December 18 (when Oscar arrived). After Oscar’s arrival, the agents observed nothing until 8:00 p.m. (when Oko had a discussion with Oscar on the street in front of the House). The Government offers no other evidence that there was an emergency to justify the entry. These facts alone would not compel an immediate search based on exigent circumstances. The agents were aware that Defendant was not in the House, and the fact that Oscar arguably presented an evasive response to Oko’s questions is not enough to justify a warrantless entry. Without more, the exigent circumstances doctrine does not apply.

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