Community Caretaking Justified Warrantless Home Entry by Cops – State v. Bogan

[07/07/09 – 10:38] This morning’s New Jersey Supreme Court decision in State v. Bogan represents only the second major decision from the Court dealing with the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement, the first having occurred back in 2004. (State v. Diloreto, 180 N.J. 264 (2004)). In Bogan, the police went to an apartment to investigate a potential criminal sexual assault upon a child. Upon arrival, the police were greeted outside the apartment by a second child who appeared to be alone and not subject to any adult supervision. During the course of their conversation, the child retreated into the apartment to answer a phone call from his father. The police entered the apartment to speak to the father on the phone for the purpose of inquiring as to the child’s care and welfare. While inside, the police noticed the defendant (the subject of the criminal investigation) in plain view in another room. The officers immediately seized the defendant and, following a waiver of Miranda rights, obtained incriminating statements from him. The Supreme Court held that the police entry into the apartment without a warrant was entirely reasonable in light of their community caretaking obligations toward the unattended child they had encountered at the apartment.

Download a copy of State v. Bogan.

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