March 23, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Warrantless Search Justified Under Exigent Circumstances Exception

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Pappan on Monday, September 10, 2018.

Searches and Seizures—Emergencies and Exigent Circumstances—Plain View Doctrine.

In this interlocutory appeal, the supreme court considered whether the trial court erred in suppressing two laser-sight rifles seized from defendant’s residence during a warrantless search conducted after defendant and two other occupants exited the residence. The court held that the warrantless search was justified under the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement. More specifically, the court concluded that (1) the officers had an objectively reasonable basis to believe there was an immediate need to protect their lives or safety by clearing the residence for other occupants, and (2) the manner and scope of the search was reasonable because it was protective in nature and narrowly tailored to neutralize the threat confronting the officers. The court further held that the seizure of the laser-sight rifles was justified by the plain view doctrine. Accordingly, the decision of the trial court was reversed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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