Post details: FL1: Officers responding to a bloodied man from a fight could enter house over his objection

07/08/13

Permalink 07:48:31 am, by fourth, 368 words, 500 views   English (US)
Categories: General

FL1: Officers responding to a bloodied man from a fight could enter house over his objection

Officers responding to a 911 hang-up call where it could be heard there was a fight, found an “agitated, angry, and uncooperative” man “with blood on his hands.” He talked about the fight in his house, but he refused entry into the house. The officers could go in under the emergency exception. C.L.L. v. State, 115 So. 3d 1114 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013):

[More:]

In this case, the deputies' belief that a medical emergency existed was imminently reasonable. The 911 hang-up call indicated that a physical altercation of some kind had occurred, which supports a reasonable belief that the 911 hang-up call was a "call for help." See In the Interest of J.B., 621 So. 2d at 490. Here, the deputies arrived at the scene to find a man who was agitated, angry, and uncooperative, with blood on his hands, and he told the deputies he had been in a fight. These facts indicated that another person could be seriously hurt and in need of medical attention; therefore, the totality of the circumstances confronting the deputies gave them reasonable grounds to believe that an emergency existed.

The deputies' belief that the emergency necessitated their immediate entry into the home was reasonable. Although Mr. Pierce stated that the other participants in the fight had left, he also stated that the fight had occurred at the home. Where the location of a potentially injured party is uncertain, and a witness is evasive or uncooperative, it is entirely reasonable to begin looking at the location where the injury is believed to have been incurred. Appellant argues that the emergency "evaporated" after Mr. Pierce identified the home as the location of the fight, because Mr. Pierce made a concerted effort to withhold consent from the deputies to enter the home, and in fact stated that the other participants had already left. However, "[t]he right of police to enter and investigate an emergency, without an accompanying intent either to seize or arrest, is inherent in the very nature of their duties as peace officers and derives from the common law." Zeigler, 402 So. 2d at 371 (emphasis added). Therefore, the totality of the circumstances demonstrated that immediate entry into the home was necessary to render aid to an injured party.

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