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Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Recent Fourth Amendment Case

The First Circuit recently held in U.S. v. Martins that the police could justify the warrantless entry into a home under the "emergency aid" exception because when they knocked on an apartment door to investigate a nearby street shooting, they found a 12-year old boy who appeared to be home alone, and marijuana smoke wafted through the room.  Protecting the boy from the pot vapors was sufficient reason to enter (the court also addressed other possible grounds, but seemed to suggest that the "home alone with pot smoke" scenario was sufficient by itself to implicate the "emergency aid" exception).  Once the police were inside, they performed a protective sweep, despite the fact that no one had been placed under arrest.  The court approved this warrantless activity as well, finding it "reasonable" under the circumstances.  Decision here.  [Mark Godsey]

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