Thursday, April 27, 2017

People v. Pou (Cal. Ct. App. - April 27, 2017)

The police get a report of a woman screaming inside a particular home and go to investigate.

When they arrive, the police see two men inside a house who seem to be making gestures like they are arguing.  No women, but okay.  [POSTSCRIPT - To be clear, the police see an argument, including some loud voices.] So they knock on the door -- aggressively, presumably -- and say they are the police and want to come in.

One of the guys inside the house eventually answers the door.  The police tell the guy that they want to "come in and look at the apartment to make sure everybody was okay.”  Which makes sense.

But the dude knows his rights.  It's his house.  He's not letting them in.  "Get a warrant."

The police officers, however, have other ideas.  We don't need no stinking warrant.  So they barge in, ostensibly under the "emergency aid" exception.  Because they say they reasonably think there might be a woman in there who's hurt and needs to get to the hospital ASAP.  No time to waste.

Once they're in the house, they indeed find a couple of women.  On a couch.  Unhurt.  Totally fine.

But that's no reason to leave, right.  There may be other women.  Everyone says there's no one else, but who knows?  Maybe someone's not telling the truth.

So they look everywhere in the house.  Just in case.

Where might this hypothetical woman be?  Pretty much anywhere, of course.  And the police say that one place she might be is in a particular closet.  They're not looking for drugs or anything.  No way.  They're just looking for a hypothetical woman who might be in a closet.

And then they just happen to spot drugs in that closet.  At which point people get arrested, charged, etc.

One more thing.  It's not even the right house.

The officers were told that the allegedly screaming woman was in the house that's across the street from 2314 Jupiter Drive.  That's what the Uber driver who complained said.  It's even in writing.

But that's not the house they barged into.  They barged into 2314 Jupiter Drive.  Not the house that had the allegedly screaming woman, which was across the street.

No matter all around.  Search was reasonable.  Conviction affirmed.