People v. Swanson, 2016 IL App (2d) 150340 (May). Episode 168 (Duration 6:16)
Deputies investigating a single car accident make a warrantless and unconstitutional entry into defendant’s home.
Police were investigating a single car accident when then appeared at defendant’s home.
The said they would not leave until they talked to defendant. They pushed their way inside the house and forced defendant to come downstairs to talk to them.
They then arrest him for DUI.
Consent or No Consent
The chief evil against which the fourth amendment is directed is the entry into the home.
The wife did not grant consent for the officers to enter the home. She told the officers repeatedly that she and defendant did not need help, that the officers did not need to be there, and that they could leave.
Moreover, she did so mostly through a closed storm door.
Although at one point she opened the storm door slightly, she did so only to facilitate communication between her and the officers. This was not a gesture for the officers to come inside.
To the contrary, when she did crack open the door, it was the deputy who opened the door farther and walked in without permission.
Nor was this a situation where the police were justified to enter to administer emergency aid.
Defendant had been in an automobile accident and had been exposed for over an hour to extremely inclement weather.
Neither circumstance, however, constituted, at the time of the entry into the home, an emergency requiring the police to provide aid.
First, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an emergency at hand.
Second, they must have some reasonable basis, approaching probable cause, to connect the emergency with the area entered or searched. Neither element was met here.
It was not reasonable to conclude that defendant needed aid when his wife was providing it. If he did need aid from the officers, his wife would not have persisted in telling the officers that he was fine and that he did not need medical help.
The warrantless entry into the home was unconstitutional.