US v. Apel, No. 12-1038 (SCOTUS, 2014)-Vandenberg Air Force Base has been designated a “closed base,” meaning that civilians may not enter without express permission. An easement was granted to allow civilians to use the highways that go through the base. The Air Force also designated an area within the easement for peaceful protests to occur. Apel was barred from the base for vandalism and trespassing. Apel, however, continued to enter the protest area. Apel was charged and convicted for reentering a military installation after being ordered not to do so. The Nineth Circuit Court overturned the conviction because the Base Commander's authority does not extend to the highways and protest area.
The Supreme Court held: A “military. . . installation” for purposes of §1382 encompasses the commanding officer’s area of responsibility, and it includes Vandenberg’s highways and protest area.
Fernandez v. California, 12-7822 (SCOTUS, 2014)-Police saw a robbery suspect from the scene to an apartment complex. They heard someone screaming from an apartment. They investigated and found a female, Roxanne Rojas, bleeding from injuries at one of the apartments. They asked her to step aside so that they could conduct a protective sweep. The suspect, Fernandez, came to the door and objected to the officers entering. They removed him and arrested him for hurting Rojas. Fernandez was later identified as the robbery suspect. An officer went back and asked Rojas for consent to search the apartment. She gave it. The officer found evidence of the robbery. Fernandez moved to have the evidence suppressed because he had objected when he was present at the apartment. The Court held that since he was lawfully arrested and removed from the apartment, his initial objection was no longer controlling. Rojas could give consent.
US v. Snipe, 515 f.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2008)-A hysterical person called the police and said something to the effect of, "get the cops here now", then hung up. The police arrived and entered through an ajar front door. They found the defendant inside with a large amount of drugs, paraphernalia, and a gun with the serial number removed. Snipe was arrested. He sought to have the evidence excluded based on unlawful entry by police. The Court held that the officers' belief that someone inside needed emergency aid was objectively reasonable and the entry was lawful.
US v. Martinez, 406 f.3d 1160 (9th Cir. 2005)-Officers responded to a domestic call. Upon arrival, the female party was outside. The officers heard the male party inside yelling. They conducted a warrantless entry to make sure the male was not getting a weapon or injured. The officers found several firearms in plain view. The male was a convicted felon and was arrested. The Court held that the evidence was lawfully obtained because the officers had exigent circumstances to enter the residence.
Wayne v. US, 318 f. 2d 205 (Court of Appeals DC Circuit, 1963)-Police, having a report of an unconscious person in a home, can force entry to check the welfare of the person as an exigent circumstance. Evidence found in plain view after entry is admissible.The Court stated, "Acting in response to reports of "dead bodies," the police may find the "bodies" to be common drunks, diabetics in shock, or distressed cardiac patients. But the business of policemen and firemen is to act, not to speculate or meditate on whether the report is correct. People could well die in emergencies if police tried to act with the calm deliberation associated with the judicial process. Even the apparently dead often are saved by swift police response."
US v. Mongold, 12-7073 (10th Cir. 2013)-Officers entered a home after the door was opened in response to a knock. The officers smelled marijuana. They forced their way in to prevent the destruction of evidence. The court found the entry was unlawful. Before an officer can, without warrant, enter a home to prevent the destruction of evidence the following criteria must be met: a. The entry must be based on probable cause. b. There must be a "serious crime". c. The destruction of evidence is likely.
The court determined that lacking probable cause of distribution or trafficking of marijuana, the odor only indicates simple possession, which in Oklahoma where the case originated is a misdemeanor offense. Therefore, the "serious crime" requirement was not met.
US v. Jackson, 12-4559 (4th Cir, 2013)-A trash can belonging to an apartment tenant was placed on the grassy area by the apartment. The area is a common area shared by all the tenants. Officers removed trash from the can without a warrant. The court held that the common area shared by tenants is not part of the curtilage of the defendant's apartment. The warrantless removal of the trash was lawful.