v. New York, 445 U. S. 573, 590 (1980), that "[a]bsent exigent circumstances," the "firm line at the entrance to the house . . . may not reasonably be crossed without a warrant." We thus grant the petition for a writ of certiorari and reverse the Court of Appeal's conclusion that the officers' actions were lawful, absent exigent circumstances.*
On an evening in March 1998, police officers observed petitioner's apartment based on an anonymous citizen complaint that drug sales were occurring there. After witnessing what appeared to be several drug purchases and allowing the buyers to leave the scene, the officers stopped one of the buyers on the street outside petitioner's residence. The officers later testified that "[b]ecause the stop took place within a block of the apartment, [they] feared that evidence would be destroyed and ordered that the apartment be entered." 00-0190, at 2, 773 So. 2d, at 261. Thus, "[t]hey immediately knocked on the door of the apartment, arrested the defendant, searched him thereto and discovered the cocaine and the money." Id., at 4, 773 So. 2d, at 263. Although the officers sought and obtained a search warrant while they detained petitioner in his home, they only obtained this warrant after they had entered his home, arrested him, frisked him, found a drug vial in his underwear, and observed contraband in plain view in the apartment.
Based on these events, petitioner was charged in a Louisiana court with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He filed a pretrial motion to suppress evidence obtained by the police as a result of their warrantless entry, arrest, and search. After holding a suppression hearing, the trial court denied this motion. Petitioner was convicted and sentenced to 15 years at hard labor.
On direct review to the Louisiana Court of Appeal, petitioner challenged the trial court's suppression ruling. He argued that the police were not justified in entering his home
*We also grant petitioner's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 Next
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