WY: No hot pursuit into home for traffic violation that wasn’t “hot”

Hot pursuit for a traffic violation did not permit an entry into the home. Here, the pursuit just wasn’t “hot” or exigent because the officer called for backup. Fuller v. State, 2021 WY 36, 2021 Wyo. LEXIS 41 (Feb. 24, 2021):

[¶13] For the “hot pursuit” exception to apply, there must be a “pursuit” and the pursuit must be “hot.” Pursuit requires “some sort of a chase, but it need not be an extended hue and cry in and about (the) public streets.” United States v. Santana, 427 U.S. 38, 42-43, 96 S.Ct. 2406, 2410, 49 L.Ed.2d 300 (1976) (quotation marks omitted). It must, however, be “immediate or continuous . . . from the scene of a crime.” Welsh, 466 U.S. at 753, 104 S.Ct. at 2099. See also, Smith v. Stoneburner, 716 F.3d 926, 931 (6th Cir. 2013) (“The ‘pursuit’ begins when police start to arrest a suspect in a public place, the suspect flees and the officers give chase.”) (citing Cummings v. City of Akron, 418 F.3d 676, 686 (6th Cir. 2005)). For a pursuit to be “hot,” there must be an emergency requiring immediate police action. Smith, 716 F.3d at 931 (“What makes the pursuit ‘hot’ is the emergency nature of the situation, requiring immediate police action.”) (citation and some internal quotation marks omitted). See also, Cummings, 418 F.3d at 686 (“Typically, hot pursuit involves a situation where a suspect commits a crime, flees and thereby exposes himself to the public, attempts to evade capture by entering a dwelling, and the emergency nature of the situation necessitates immediate police action to apprehend the suspect.”) (emphasis added) (citations omitted). The officers’ entry into Mr. Fuller’s apartment in this case was neither a “pursuit” nor “hot.”

[¶14] Deputy Kellison chased Mr. Fuller in his vehicle for four blocks and into an apartment complex. However, at the time the officers entered Mr. Fuller’s apartment, the chase was no longer “immediate or continuous … from the scene of a crime” because it had been interrupted by Deputy Kellison’s decision to call and wait for back-up. Once back-up arrived, Deputy Kellison walked around the apartment building and other officers secured its perimeter. Although only 8-13 minutes passed from the time Deputy Kellison called for back-up and the officers’ entry into Mr. Fuller’s apartment, this “break” rendered Deputy Kellison’s pursuit of Mr. Fuller neither “immediate” nor “continuous” from the scene of a crime. There was no “pursuit.”

[¶15] The Supreme Court’s decision in Welsh is instructive. After swerving off the road and coming to a stop in a field, Mr. Welsh exited his vehicle and walked away from the scene. Welsh, 466 U.S. at 742, 104 S.Ct. at 2093-94. A few minutes later, the police arrived at the scene and learned Mr. Welsh’s address was within walking distance. Id. Without first obtaining a warrant, the officers went to the address, entered the home, found Mr. Welsh in his upstairs bedroom, and arrested him. Id. at 743, 104 S.Ct. at 2094. The Supreme Court concluded the “hot pursuit” exception did not justify the officers’ warrantless entry into Mr. Welsh’s home “because there was no immediate or continuous pursuit of the petitioner from the scene of a crime.” Id. at 753, 104 S.Ct. at 2099. That was so even though Mr. Welsh’s vehicle went off the road “[s]hortly before 9 [p.m.]” and the police arrived at his residence “about 9 p.m.” Id. at 742-43, 104 S.Ct. at 2093-94. Like the officers in Welsh, Deputy Kellison did not immediately or continually chase Mr. Fuller from the streets of downtown Gillette. Rather, Deputy Kellison stopped his pursuit and called for back-up.

[¶16] The pursuit in this case was also not “hot.” At the time the officers entered Mr. Fuller’s apartment, there was no emergency requiring immediate police action.

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