CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tenth Circuit Extends Buie "Protective Sweeps" To Areas Outside of House and to Include Preventative Detentions of Individuals Discovered During Sweep

In Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990), the Supreme Court authorized the police practice of making a "protective sweep" of a home in which the police arrest a defendant in order to protect the police against the possibility of the arrestee's cohorts staging an ambush.  In U.S. v. Maddox, issued yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit applied the rationale of Buie to authorize protective sweeps of the area outside of the home, and also authorized the detention of individuals found outside the home during such a sweep for whom the officers have formed a reasonable suspicion might present a danger to them.

The defendant in the case, Maddox, had been found outside in the carport while the police arrested the target defendant in the home.  The police detained Maddox while the arrest of the target defendant was being made, and then arrested him when he later admitted that he possessed a firearm (he had previously been convicted of a felony) and narcotics.  The court found that the officers had a reasonable suspicion that Maddox was dangerous, due to his location close to the place of arrest and his "erratic" behavior.  The court further held that the fact that Maddox was found outside the home during an in-home arrest did not render the "officer safety" rationale of Buie inapplicable. Thus, the area outside of a home, the court held, can fall within the "arrest scene" discussed in Buie in which sweeps are authorized.

Mark Godsey

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