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Home entry was unlawful, but subsequent arrest was a-okay

State v. Michael R. McGinnis, 2018AP1388-CR, District 3, 10/8/19 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

An officer investigating a hit-and-run at the Happy Hollow Tavern unlawfully pushed his way into McGinnis’s home and then arrested him. The state concedes the officer’s entry was unlawful, so the evidence and statements police obtained while in McGinnis’s home must be suppressed. But the arrest of McGinnis was supported by probable cause, so the evidence obtained after the arrest is admissible.

¶16     Under Payton [v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980)], absent exigent circumstances, law enforcement officers may not effect a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a person’s home, even if they possess probable cause to arrest the person. Payton, 455 U.S. at 590; see also [New York v.]  Harris, 495 U.S. [14,] 16[ (1990)]. …. However, the Supreme Court in Harris declined to apply the exclusionary rule for Payton violations to evidence gathered outside of the home. It concluded the exclusionary rule was “designed to protect the physical integrity of the home; it was not intended to grant criminal suspects … protection for statements made outside their premises where the police have probable cause to arrest the suspect for committing a crime.” Harris, 495 U.S. at 17.

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¶22     ….[T]he State argues that the factual findings made by the court were sufficient to support probable cause to arrest McGinnis for a PAC violation—i.e., that McGinnis had recently driven his vehicle while having a prohibited concentration of alcohol in this blood—prior to the time [Officer] Bell entered McGinnis’s apartment…. We agree with the State ….

¶23     Importantly, Bell was aware that McGinnis had six prior OWI convictions and that he was subject to a .02 blood alcohol content restriction. Bell also knew that the consumption of even one alcoholic beverage could raise a person’s blood alcohol content beyond that limit. Bell knew that a Jeep registered to McGinnis had been recently involved in a hit and run at a tavern, and within one minute of the dispatch Bell was able to locate the Jeep parked immediately outside of the address associated with the Jeep’s registration. The person who answered the door when Bell knocked was a male whom Bell believed to be heavily intoxicated based upon his slurred speech and glassy, bloodshot eyes. The male refused to identify himself, and Bell could not see any other person in the residence.

¶24     Based upon the foregoing facts—all of which were known to Bell before he entered McGinnis’s residence—we agree with the State that a reasonable police officer would conclude McGinnis had recently committed a PAC violation. Specifically, a reasonable officer could strongly infer from the available evidence that McGinnis had been present at the tavern, had driven his vehicle while intoxicated (or with at least a blood alcohol content greater than .02), and had hit a vehicle in the parking lot and fled to his nearby residence. ….

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