CA3: Just because a householder does not come to the door is not an exigent circumstance

The community caretaking doctrine could not justify a warrantless entry into the plaintiff's home. The plaintiff had his kids, and his ex had come to the door to pick them up for visitation. He failed or refused to respond to the door or calls to his phone. Officers were called, and they knew of the acrimonious relationship between the plaintiff and his ex. They called for guidance and decided to enter. The entry violated the Fourth Amendment. However, the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. At the time of the officers' actions, two circuits had arguably extended the community caretaking doctrine to warrantless entries into homes. This Circuit had addressed the issue only in a nonprecedential opinion one month prior to the officers' actions, and it left unresolved whether a community caretaking exception might justify a warrantless search of a home. Under the circumstances, the officers were not on notice that their conduct was a clear violation of the law, and they acted reasonably in their belief that they could enter the home to check on the homeowner's daughter. Ray v. Twp. of Warren, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 24043 (3d Cir. November 23, 2010).* Detaining defendant 20 minutes for a dog sniff because he was nervous and his story was unusual was unreasonable and without reasonable suspicion, so the motion to suppress is granted. United States v. Richardson, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124076 (S.D. Tex. November 23, 2010).* The court finds the officers' version of the consent more credible. United States v. Kerner, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124179 (E.D. Wis. November 23, 2010), adopting United States v. Kerner, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124424 (E.D. Wis. October 22, 2010).*

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