CA5: Motel owner who opened room door without police asking was a private actor

Police attempted a knock-and-talk at a motel, but no one opened the door. The motel owner here was watching so he opened the door on his own. He asked the officers before he did, but they said they needed a warrant or consent. This was purely private action. The officers never suggested that he open the door for them. United States v. Cordova-Espinoza, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 27461 (5th Cir. Sep. 30, 2022).

Because of information from a CI, the officers had reasonable suspicion to extend the stop before it even occurred. The stop was based on a traffic offense. United States v. Robinson, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179684 (W.D. Ark. Sep. 30, 2022).*

“Here, under Crane’s account, Crane was shot while he was held in a chokehold in a parked car while evading arrest for several confirmed misdemeanors and an unconfirmed felony parole violation. Roper was on notice that the use of deadly force is objectively reasonable except in only one circumstance, where an officer has ‘a reasonable belief that he or the public was in imminent danger.’ As previously discussed, Roper’s alleged belief that Crane had a gun was not reasonable, nor was his belief that a parked car posed a danger to himself, the passengers, or the other officers standing on the side of the car. When we accept the facts as we must, this case is an obvious one. ‘While the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness test is ‘not capable of precise definition or mechanical application,’ the test is clear enough that Roper should have known he could not use deadly force on an unarmed man in a parked car.” Crane v. City of Arlington, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 27462 (5th Cir. Sep. 30, 2022).*

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