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Police Cannot Enter

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Often, the Police will attempt to enter an apartment or house, upon the grounds of exigent circumstances when exigent circumstances do not exist. In many cases, the officers are attempting entrance, because leaving to obtain an arrest warrant is more difficult. 

In one scenario, the defendant, Mr. Jones was taken into custody on or about October 31, 2007 by officers of the City Police Department. The defendant was charged with the offense of Aggravated Robbery.  If the Defendant, Mr. Jones , was committing no crime while inside of the apartment rented to Mr. Steve, when he was detained by Corporal J. E and Detective T from the City Police Department.

The arresting officer had no probable cause to search and investigate Mr. Jones. One of the foremost cases in this area is People v. Wimbley, 314 Ill.App.3d 18, 731 N.E.2d 290, 246 Ill.Dec. 762, Ill.App. 1 Dist., May 30, 2000 (NO. 1-98-3632).  In People v. Wimbley, the Illinois Appellate Court stated that a potential drug investigation does not necessitate the need for exigent circumstances.  Therefore, the Chicago Police were prevented from entering the specific apartment in the People v. Wimbley case.  The Court stated 

Usually, the decision of a trial court on a fourth amendment motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence will not be disturbed by a reviewing court unless that finding is determined to be clearly or manifestly erroneous. People v. Foskey, 136 Ill.2d 66, 76, 143 Ill.Dec. 257, 554 N.E.2d 192 (1990). In this case defendant indicated in his brief that he is not contesting the trial court's findings as to the facts and the **293 ***765 credibility of the witnesses, but rather challenging whether exigent circumstances justified the warrantless entry. Where the facts and the credibility of the witnesses are undisputed, as here, the question of whether exigent circumstances are present is a question of law, subject to consideration by this court de novo. People v. Abney, 81 Ill.2d 159, 168, 41 Ill.Dec. 45, 407 N.E.2d 543 (1980).”

Therefore, Exigent Circumctances are the linchpin under which the State must support warrantless entries.  The criteria for exigent circumstances can be determined through several different points of analysis. The Exigent Circumstance usually involves the saving of another human’s life.  It does not simply include the issue of whether the police hear someone talking inside or whether the police hear a crime discussed inside  of the house.

In . People v. Tillman, 355 Ill.App.3d 194, 823 N.E.2d 117, 291 Ill.Dec. 107, Ill.App. 1 Dist., January 14, 2005 (NO. 1-03-2234), the Court found that exigent circumstances did exist.  The Illinois Appellate Court stated in short that, “Exigent circumstances were present, in that officers were in hot pursuit of co-defendants, and therefore, officers' warrantless entry into defendant's apartment was proper.”  Id at 194. Further, Detective L and Corporal L did not have a valid warrant at the time they entered the apartment in which Mr. Steve resided. Detective Lekas and Corporal Espy searched Mr. Jones  and the surrounding area without any probable cause. Therefore, the subsequent arrest should be quashed and all other evidence received as a result thereof should be suppressed.

The Exclusionary Rule prohibits the introduction into evidence of the direct and indirect products of unreasonable searches and seizures. Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961); Because of the above conduct, any and all communications, confessions, statements, admissions, physical evidence pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/114-12 to suppress all statements made and all evidence obtained as a direct result of an improper vehicle stop, because of the absence of authority or probable cause all evidence must be suppressed.  Without evidence, the State could not continue prosecution, and the case must be dismissed.

Craig Cunningham is a published author in the areas of family and criminal law.  In addition to being an attorney, he is also a professor and will educate his clients regarding their case and the law. Clients are able to reach him through several outlets such as, email, cell phone, office line and fax. He will never keep his clients in the dark. With any new developments, he will definitely keep clients informed. For more information please visit at www.cunninghamlaw.cc

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