IN: Def’s sitting inside in front of open door visible outside had reduced REP compared to exigency for his arrest

Defendant’s door was wide open, and officers could see him sitting inside directly in front of the door. They had an arrest warrant for him. Based on the “particular facts” here, officers had exigency combined with defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy from how he positioned himself. Shorter v. State, 2020 Ind. App. LEXIS 286 (July 6, 2020):

[16] Lastly, we also note that the door to the home was “wide open with no screen” and Shorter was sitting on a couch located directly in front of the open door, such that Shorter was plainly visible and identifiable from lawful vantage points, including from a vehicle as officers first drove by the house. Tr. Vol. III p. 142, 224. These circumstances certainly reduced the reasonable expectation of privacy Shorter had inside the home in the first place. See, e.g., Shane v. State, 615 N.E.2d 425, 428 (Ind. 1993) (holding that defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a basement area where door to the basement was off its hinge and was accessible via a common stairwell); Sayre v. State, 471 N.E.2d 708, 713 (Ind. Ct. App. 1984) (“[D]efendants did not display a reasonable expectation of privacy by leaving open the curtains on the front window, which is only a few feet from the front door.”); see also Cox, 696 N.E.2d at 857 (“[I]f police spot the suspect and identify themselves when the suspect is in view, they may pursue her into the home to complete the arrest.”); Boggs v. State, 928 N.E.2d 855, 863 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) (“A man’s home is, for most purposes, a place where he expects privacy, but objects, activities, or statements that he exposes to the plain view of outsiders are not protected because no intention to keep them to himself has been exhibited.”).

[17] In sum, we find that the warrantless arrest of Shorter was supported by probable cause and exigent circumstances, and that the warrantless search that produced the heroin and methamphetamine introduced as evidence was lawful. Given the particular facts of this case, it would have been advisable and best practice for officers to at least attempt to obtain an electronic warrant prior to the arrest, but because there were sufficient exigent circumstances consistent with those found in cases like Myers and Banks, a warrant was not required. As such, no Fourth Amendment violation occurred, and the trial court properly admitted any evidence obtained as a result of the arrest or the search of the home.

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