NM retains subjective element of the emergency aid doctrine for a warrantless entry from its prior case law

New Mexico retains subjective element of the emergency aid doctrine for a warrantless entry from its prior case law. It rejects that part of Brigham City v. Stuart under state constitution. State v. Yazzie, 2019 N.M. LEXIS 2 (Jan. 24, 2019):

P1 With this opinion we revisit the circumstances under which an officer may make a warrantless entry into a home under the emergency assistance doctrine. Relying on cases interpreting the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, this Court held in Ryon that a warrantless entry is reasonable under the emergency assistance doctrine when (1) law enforcement officers “have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an emergency at hand and an immediate need for assistance for the protection of life or property;” (2) the officers’ primary motivation for the search is a “strong sense of emergency” and not “to arrest a suspect or to seize evidence[;]” and (3) the officers have some reasonable basis, approximating probable cause, to connect the emergency to the area to be searched. See 2005-NMSC-005, ¶ 39, 137 N.M. 174, 108 P.3d 1032.

P2 Since Ryon was decided, the United States Supreme Court has clarified that the emergency assistance doctrine under the Fourth Amendment focuses on the objective reasonableness of the officer’s actions and does not include a subjective component. See Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 404, 126 S. Ct. 1943, 164 L. Ed. 2d 650 (2006) (“The officer’s subjective motivation is irrelevant.”). Applying the interstitial approach, we hold that an officer’s subjective motivation remains relevant to the reasonableness of a warrantless entry under Article II, Section 10 of the New Mexico Constitution. We further hold that the officer’s warrantless entry in this case was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and Article II, Section 10. The Court of Appeals having concluded otherwise, we reverse. In doing so, we reiterate our recent holding in State v. Martinez that the presence of video evidence in an appellate record does not affect the deference due to a district court’s factual findings at a suppression hearing if those findings are supported by substantial evidence. See 2018-NMSC-007, ¶¶ 18-19, 410 P.3d 186.

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