FL: A “No Soliciting” sign posted on a home’s front door does not prohibit a knock-and-talk

A “No Soliciting” sign posted on a home’s front door does not prohibit law enforcement officers from conducting a knock-and-talk. People can still approach the front door under Jardines. It’s the law enforcement diversion from business at the door that Jardines bars. State v. Crowley, 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 13615 (Fla. 1st DCA Sept. 29, 2017):

While posting a “No Soliciting” sign seemingly prohibits would-be visitors from approaching the home in order to sell stuff, seek contributions, and the like, it does not clearly communicate an intention to exclude non-soliciting visitors. In fact, “No Soliciting” signs can be found in places where visitors are plainly welcome and expected, including supermarkets, malls, neighborhoods, hospitals, and stadiums. See, e.g., Publix Super Markets, Inc. v. Tallahasseans for Practical Law Enforcement, No. 2004 CA 1817, 2005 WL 3673662 (Fla. 2d Cir. Ct. 2005) (supermarket); Salmon Run Shopping Ctr. LLC v. N.L.R.B., 534 F.3d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 2008) (shopping mall); Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc’y of New York, Inc. v. Vill. of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150, 156 (2002) (neighborhood); Beth Israel Hosp. v. N.L.R.B., 437 U.S. 483, 486 (1978) (hospital); Int’l Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. New Jersey Sports & Exposition Auth., 691 F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1982) (stadium); Mitchell v. Baltimore Sun Co., 883 A.2d 1008, 1011 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2005) (nursing home); Furman v. Call, 362 S.E.2d 709, 711 (Va. 2017) (condominium complex). This isn’t a case where the sign on the property obviously intended to keep visitors away. See § 810.09, Fla. Stat. (2016) (defining trespassing partly upon the basis of whether specific signs have been posted); Bainter v. State, 135 So. 3d 517 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014) (holding that officers violated the Fourth Amendment by entering a property surrounded by a barbed-wire fence with a chain-link push fence and several visible “No Trespassing” signs). Different from other more broadly restrictive signs—”Keep Out,” “No Visitors,” “No Trespassing,” etc.—a “No Soliciting” sign is more similar to “No Hunting,” “No Fishing,” and “No Swimming” signs that prohibit specific activities. Here, Mr. Crowley’s lone sign unquestionably warned away would-be solicitors from his door, but not non-soliciting visitors. The officers didn’t arrive at Mr. Crowley’s front door in this case for the purpose of soliciting him, for instance, to buy tickets to a policeman’s ball, or to contribute to the police athletic league. Thus, the officers’ implied license to approach Mr. Crowley’s front door, knock, and talk to him—as well as the implied license of other general visitors—remained intact. “Where no signs forbid entry, and there is a recognizable pathway to a front door, a limited license to enter the property on the pathway and knock on the door exists.” Powell, 120 So. 3d at 584 (citing Nieminski v. State, 60 So. 3d 521, 526-27 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011)).

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