No Serious Emergency Needed to Enter Home w/o Warrant – Michigan v. Fisher
[12/07/09 – 9:51 pm] This morning, in a case captioned Michigan v. Fisher, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a warrantless entry into a residence based upon a police desire to render emergency aid need not be based upon a serious emergency or even obvious injury. Rather, the test is whether the police had an objectively reasonable basis to believe that medical assistance might be needed or that people may be in danger. Police officers do not need iron-clad proof of a serious, life-threatening emergency to make a warrantless home entry under the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement. In so holding, the Justices noted that the role of the police officer includes preventing violence and restoring order, not simply rendering first aid to casualties. The Court’s opinion in Fisher underscores the Justices’ often-expressed view that police may effect a warrantless home entry to prevent potential injury and need not wait until someone is actually injured.
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