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Warrantless Entry of Residence – Exigent Circumstances, Generally

State v. Kevin Raphael Lee, 2009 WI App 96, PFR filed 7/1/09
For Lee: Robert E. Haney

Issue/Holding: Warrantless entry of residence is supported when the State demonstrates both probable cause and exigent circumstances, ¶7. Exigent circumstances include: (1) hot pursuit of suspect; (2) threat to someone’s safety; (3) risk of evidence destruction; and (4) likelihood suspect will flee, ¶9.

The court goes on to collapse the 2nd and 3rd categories of exigencies, in that “a threat to safety also implicates … the destruction of evidence,” ¶10 n. 5. More particularly, the court essentially holds that during a destruction-of-evidence entry the police may conduct a “protective sweep”—activity which is clearly appropriate incident to arrest but unsettled beyond that specific context.


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