MA: Porch and side yard of multifamily dwelling was protected curtilage

The porch and side yard of a multifamily residence was within the curtilage for Dunn and Jardines, so the police entry to look under the porch was unreasonable and the search is suppressed. Commonwealth v. Leslie, 2017 Mass. LEXIS 341 (May 9, 2017):

Taking all four factors into consideration, we conclude that the porch and side yard area at the residence were part of the home’s curtilage and thus entitled to Fourth Amendment and art. 14 protections against an unreasonable search and seizure. We emphasize the relevance of the Dunn factors for our courts in determining whether a challenged police action occurring within the boundaries of a home, which under the Fourth Amendment is expressly designated as a “constitutionally protected area,” is compliant with its protections. Application of the Dunn factors in appropriate cases follows Jardines, eschewing the “reasonable expectation of privacy” inquiry that is deemed necessary only when the issue is whether the area is a “constitutionally protected area.” Thus, because Detective Griffin’s search was a physical intrusion into the constitutionally protected area of the residence, Price and by extension Leslie are relieved of the burden to show that Price had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area searched. See Jardines, 133 S. Ct. at 1417, citing United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 408-409, 132 S. Ct. 945, 181 L. Ed. 2d 911 (2012) (reasonable expectation of privacy test “is unnecessary to consider when the government gains evidence by physically intruding on constitutionally protected areas”). “That the officers learned what they learned only by physically intruding on [Price’s] property to gather evidence is enough to establish that a search occurred.” Jardines, supra.

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