mined that "the reasons for upholding warrantless arrests in a public place do not apply to warrantless invasions of the privacy of the home." Id., at 576. We held that because "the Fourth Amendment has drawn a firm line at the entrance to the house . . . [, a]bsent exigent circumstances, that threshold may not reasonably be crossed without a warrant." Id., at 590. And we noted that an arrest warrant founded on probable cause, as well as a search warrant, would suffice for entry. Id., at 603.
Here, the police had neither an arrest warrant for petitioner, nor a search warrant for petitioner's apartment, when they entered his home, arrested him, and searched him. The officers testified at the suppression hearing that the reason for their actions was a fear that evidence would be destroyed, but the Louisiana Court of Appeal did not determine that such exigent circumstances were present. Rather, the court, in respondent's own words, determined "that the defendant's argument that there were no exigent circumstances to justify the warrantless entry of the apartment was irrelevant" to the constitutionality of the officers' actions. Brief in Opposition 2-3. As Payton makes plain, police officers need either a warrant or probable cause plus exigent circumstances in order to make a lawful entry into a home. The Court of Appeal's ruling to the contrary, and consequent failure to assess whether exigent circumstances were present in this case, violated Payton.
Petitioner and respondent both dispute at length whether exigent circumstances were, in fact, present. We express no opinion on that question, nor on respondent's argument that any Fourth Amendment violation was cured because the police had an "independent source" for the recovered evidence. Brief in Opposition 8. Rather, we reverse the Court of Appeal's judgment that exigent circumstances were not required to justify the officers' conduct, and remand for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4
Last modified: October 4, 2007