FL Supremes Take Up Warrantless Search

Oct 6, 2016

Credit Nick Evans

Warrantless searches are on the docket for the Florida Supreme Court.  Some justices seem skeptical of the state’s argument in favor of allowing police entry. 

A broken window, according to the attorney general’s office, was enough to justify police entering Rafael Yee’s home.  A neighbor called about the potential break in, and the state argues when officers didn’t hear anything inside Yee’s residence, they had reasonable concerns someone could be hurt or incapacitated.  But Justice James Perry says their slow reaction belies any sense of urgency.

“Seems to me as if they had gone right in right away it probably would’ve been justified,” Perry says.  “Because an objective officer could assume there might be someone in there, but when you wait around that sort of takes that emergency factor out of it.”

Justice Peggy Quince agrees.

“To come to a scene,” she says, “talk to the neighbors, call the officers to secure the scene, then call another officer to bring the dog, I mean that to me sounds like the action of an officer who doesn’t believe there’s any emergency situation.”

At the scene, officers called for back-up to establish a perimeter and then waited for a K9 unit before entering the home.  Inside they found marijuana plants, but the trial and appeal level courts disagree on whether the plants are admissible.