U.S. v. Vasquez-Algarin — criminal / Fourth Am. — reversal — Krause
The Third Circuit today decided an interesting and important search and seizure case today, holding that officers entering a dwelling to arrest someone must at least have probable cause to believe the person is there. The opinion ably explains matters:
Law enforcement officers need both an arrest warrant and a search warrant to apprehend a suspect at what they know to be a third party’s home. If the suspect resides at the address in question, however, officers need only an arrest warrant and a “reason to believe” that the individual is present at the time of their entry. This case sits between these two rules and calls on us to decide their critical point of inflection: how certain must officers be that a suspect resides at and is present at a particular address before forcing entry into a private dwelling?
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We conclude that to satisfy the reasonable belief standard law enforcement required, but lacked, probable cause. The officers’ entry was therefore unconstitutional and, because the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule is inapplicable here, the evidence seized from Vasquez-Algarin’s apartment should have been suppressed.
The court joined four other circuits in interpreting reasonable belief as at least functionally equal to probable cause, splitting sharply with the D.C. Circuit and less sharply with two others.