Muni-mail – No Home Entry for “Terry” Detention Permitted

[5/24/10 – 1:01 am] – On Friday morning, the Appellate Division ruled that there is no recognized exception to the warrant requirement that permits police officers to enter a private residence for the purpose of conducting a “Terry”-type investigative detention. In State v. Jefferson, police officers were investigating drug dealing and possible gun- play. Their investigation led them to a private residence where they encountered the defendant inside the residence. Although they remained outside the residence, the police quickly developed sufficient suspicion to detain the defendant for investigative purposes and made a warrantless entry into the defendant’s residence. Simultaneously with the entry, the defendant resisted the police, was arrested and searched, resulting in the recovery of controlled dangerous substances. After securing the defendant, the police re-entered the residence without a warrant and secured additional criminal evidence.

The Appellate Division ruled that although the police had no constitutional justification to enter the defendant’s residence without a warrant, the recovery of the evidence from his person occurred as a result of a search incident to his arrest for resisting. By contrast, the second entry could not be justified under any exception to the warrant requirement and would result in the suppression of the criminal evidence that was recovered.

Download a copy of State v. Jefferson.

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