FL4: Knock-and-talk can’t go to side door of outbuilding

The prior owner’s consent three years earlier couldn’t be attributable to defendant. [Yes, officers really said they believed that it could.] A knock-and-talk that progressed to another building within the fencing violated curtilage and the limits on knock-and-talk. Osorio v. State, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 6412 (Fla. 4th DCA May 10, 2018):

Although we conclude that the agents’ approach of the side door exceeded the scope of a valid “knock and talk,” even if the agents had approached the front door, suppression was still required. The facts of this case establish that the barn was part of the main house’s curtilage as it was within the same fenced-in area as the main house and was used as an extension of the home’s living space. Moreover it was not readily observable from outside the property. See A.E.R v. State, 464 So. 2d 152, 153 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985) (defining curtilage for purposes of the Fourth Amendment as “the ground and buildings immediately surrounding a dwelling and customarily used in connection with it”); State v. Sarantopoulos, 604 So. 2d 551, 553 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992) (recognizing that area within home’s fence is typically part of its curtilage); see also Pinyan v. State, 523 So. 2d 718, 721 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (detached shed used as greenhouse was part of main house’s curtilage when it was within the same fence and was protected from outside observation).

Officers are not permitted to exit the front door area and physically enter or look into other portions of the home or its curtilage pursuant to a “knock and talk.” Friedson v. State, 207 So. 3d 961, 965 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016) (officers conducted a warrantless search when, after performing a permissible “knock and talk” which went unanswered, they stepped off the porch and shone a light in an adjacent window); Powell, 120 So. 3d at 584 (“Even when governmental agents are engaging in otherwise lawful ‘knock-and-talks,’ they can exceed the scope of a reasonable visit to a front door or porch through physical actions that encroach into areas in which the resident has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”); Lollie, 14 So. 3d at 1079 (officers conducted a warrantless search when, after knock at front door went unanswered, they went around the back of the house to knock at a different door and, in the process, saw incriminating evidence); Waldo, 975 So. 2d at 543-44 (officers conducted warrantless search when, after knock at front door went unanswered, they went into side and back yard and tried to get the occupants to respond at those locations); Maggard v. State, 736 So. 2d 763, 765 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999) (same). Accordingly, the agents were not permitted to head towards the barn pursuant to a “knock and talk.”

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