OH2: Misd arrest warrant permits reasonable entry under Steagald

The officer here found an outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrant for defendant, and a probable address where she may be living with her boyfriend. The address was an apartment building with 5-6 apartments, and the officer asked around and went to an apartment with the door open and hanging off the hinges. He knocked on the door frame to get the attention of the occupants. A man came to the door and said just him and his girlfriend were there. He provided a different name for the girlfriend. The officer persuaded him to go get her, and she came out. She matched the picture or the person in the warrant downloaded to the officer’s cell phone. The boyfriend remarked, “that’s her.” Then she admitted that she was the person named. The entry did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The court finds no reason to distinguish between felonies and misdemeanors under Steagald. State v. Hinshaw, 2018-Ohio-4226, 2018 Ohio App. LEXIS 4557 (2d Dist. Oct. 19, 2018):

[*P20] We find no basis to distinguish a felony arrest warrant from a misdemeanor arrest warrant concerning whether the warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to enter the home of the person subject to the warrant in order to effectuate an arrest. “The purpose of a warrant is to allow a neutral judicial officer to assess whether the police have probable cause to make an arrest or conduct a search.” Steagald at 212. “An arrest warrant is issued by a magistrate upon a showing that probable cause exists to believe that the subject of the warrant has committed an offense and thus the warrant primarily serves to protect an individual from an unreasonable seizure.” Id. at 213.

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