Originally Posted by msu_grad_121
Wow, that's awesome. I should probably give some background on this whole thing. We had roll call training the other day which discussed a situation like this: you are dispatched to a house for a parking complaint. You arrive and see cars parked all jacked up. You attempt to make contact with the residents by knocking on the door. When you knock, the door swings open freely (they were very specific that you don't turn the handle and have no intention of opening it, it just opens when you knock) and no one answers when you announce your presence. You make entry to secure the home and smell Marijuana. You run into a resident and several friends in a back bedroom smoking up and they give up the weed as soon as you ask. You also have Marijuana and paraphernalia in plain sight. The question basically boils down to whether or not the entry was good or if the evidence will get tossed.
This of course created a divide between my shift, with both Sgts falling on opposite sides. I, as the most vocal debater, was tasked with researching the situation and getting back to the Sgt who disagrees with my position.
hat says the brain trust?
Factually, that sounds somewhat similar to State v. Vargas
, 213 N.J. 301, 63 A.3d 175, 2013 N.J. LEXIS 203, 2013 WL 1104072 (N.J. 2013).
The Court in Vargas held that the Community Caretaker exception alone wasn't enough, there needed to be an objectively reasonable basis for believing that there was an emergency.
However, there really isn't a clear answer here due to the Circuit Split and wide range of case law here. (The N.J. Supreme Court is rather far-left and their reasoning wouldn't necessarily be persuasive in more Conservative jurisdictions.) This is an area that the Supreme Court probably needs to clarify.