WI: Warrantless entry into curtilage was not hot pursuit

The officers here were not in continuous hot pursuit when they entered defendant’s fenced-in backyard, his curtilage. They went there on a call, and they weren’t following. Entry suppressed. State v. Wilson, 2022 WI 77, 2022 Wisc. LEXIS 99 (Nov. 23, 2022):

 [*P42] Unlike in Richter, the officers here did not pick up Wilson’s trail and immediately pursue Wilson based on the contemporaneous collection of information. Instead, they received a call to go to a particular location. Upon arrival, the officers delayed in order to gather more information. After observing the location, the officers ran the vehicle license plate to obtain vehicle registration information. Next, they contacted the 911 caller to discuss more details of the complaint, including the speed of the vehicle, the nature of the erratic driving, and a description of its three-and-a-half mile route. Additionally, they discussed what the suspect was wearing and his conduct upon exiting the vehicle. Although we do not know the exact amount of time it took the officers to check the vehicle registration and contact the 911 caller, the record does not support the proposition that the officers were acting in hot pursuit. What occurred was neither hot nor was it a continuous pursuit.

 [*P43] We find further support in Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. 740, 104 S. Ct. 2091, 80 L. Ed. 2d 732, for our conclusion that the facts here do not constitute hot pursuit. In Welsh, a concerned driver called the police to report an erratic driver who was swerving in the road and eventually stopped in an open field. Id. at 742. The erratic driver got out of his car and approached the concerned citizen, asking him for a ride home. Id. The concerned citizen suggested waiting for assistance but the driver walked away from the field, leaving his car. Id. A few minutes later, officers arrived, checked the registration of the abandoned car, and proceeded to the suspect’s home. Id. at 742-43. The United States Supreme Court concluded that “the claim of hot pursuit is unconvincing because there was no immediate or continuous pursuit of the petitioner from the scene of a crime.” Id. at 753.

 [*P44] Similarly here, there was no immediate or continuous pursuit from the scene of the crime. In fact, there was even less of a pursuit than what occurred in Welsh. Police simply received a call telling them to go to a specific address and they went to that location. It was not a real time pursuit of a suspect.

. . .

[*P48] In sum, we conclude that Wilson’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The police officers’ warrantless entry into Wilson’s backyard was not a valid “knock and talk” investigation because they did not have an implicit license to enter nor did their entry satisfy the hot pursuit exception to the warrant requirement. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the court of appeals and remand the cause to the circuit court with directions to vacate Wilson’s judgment of conviction and grant the motion to suppress.

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