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The Supreme Court makes a ruling on warrantless entries

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | Uncategorized

There’s almost nothing as stressful as having a police officer follow your vehicle. But should they continue pursuing you after you enter your home? A recent California case led the Supreme Court to issue a ruling regarding warrantless entries.

More information on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling

In its decision, the Supreme Court ruled that no police pursuit automatically gives a police officer the right to follow a suspect into their home without a warrant. Justice Elena Kagan also noted that exceptions to this ruling can occur on a case-by-case basis.

How Arthur Lange’s case led to this ruling

The case that led to the ruling over warrantless entries involved a man named Arthur Lange. In 2016, Lange was driving home, and a police officer suspected Lange was driving erratically. Based on this suspicion, the police officer turned on his vehicle’s overhead lights. Lange, who would state he didn’t see the police officer’s lights, drove into his open garage and started closing the garage door.

During this moment, the police officer following him quickly whipped his vehicle into Lange’s driveway. The officer then accused Lange of smelling like alcohol and had Lange transported to a nearby hospital to test his blood-alcohol level. The test showed that Lange’s BAC was three times over California’s legal limit.

Understandably, Lange would later contest this ruling. Since the officer unlawfully followed him into his home without a warrant, Lange felt this ruling should get overturned. However, a California appeals court would reject Lange’s criminal defense argument.

To summarize, the Supreme Court recently ruled that police officers can’t automatically make a warrantless entry into a suspect’s home after a pursuit. However, the Supreme Court also noted that case-by-case exceptions to this ruling are still possible.