Cal.1: Refusing entry to home for police to investigate gunshots outside wasn’t exigency

Gunshots were fired outside a defendant’s home. The police showed up, and he refused entry. They couldn’t use the excuse that somebody inside might need aid. People v. Rubio, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 1245 (1st Dist. Dec. 13, 2019):

If a man lives in a high crime neighborhood and somebody discharges a firearm outside his home, may the police break down his door and enter his apartment when he refuses to invite them in to investigate? The Fourth Amendment answers a resounding “no”—at least not without circumstances, not present here, that would cause a reasonable person to believe that someone in the apartment stood in need of emergency aid, or that some other exception to the warrant requirement applied. The need to render emergency aid justifies warrantless entry only where officers have “‘”specific and articulable facts”‘” showing that an intrusion into the home was necessary. (People v. Ovieda (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1034, 1043 (Ovieda).) It is not enough that officers seek to rule out “the possibility that someone … might require aid.” (Id. at p. 1047.)

These principles render the warrantless search of defendant Adan Rubio’s garage apartment unconstitutional. Defendant here appeals his conviction by plea to possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm (Health & Saf. Code, § 11370.1), a plea entered after the trial court denied his motion to suppress the evidence found in his apartment (Pen. Code, § 1538.5). Because we conclude the evidence was gathered in violation of defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, we reverse his conviction and remand to allow defendant to withdraw his plea.

This entry was posted in Emergency / exigency. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.