I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in. Exigent Circumstances | US v. Lundin

This case goes just like Dave Edmunds’ song. Link at the end.


Around 4:00 a.m. on April 23, 2013, three northern California law enforcement officers approached Defendant Eric Lundin’s home without either an arrest warrant or a search warrant. They came onto his front porch and knocked on his door with the intent of arresting him. From the front porch where they were standing, the officers heard crashing noises coming from the back of the house. They ran to the back, ordered Lundin to come out of the fenced-in backyard, and arrested him. After putting Lundin in a patrol car, several officers briefly searched Lundin’s home, including the back patio where they found two handguns in open view. The district court suppressed the handguns as the result of an illegal search. The United States appeals. We hold that the officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they knocked on the door at 4:00 a.m. without a warrant with the intent of arresting Lundin, and that the immediately ensuing search was illegal. We therefore affirm.


The panel held that the warrantless search of the defendant’s home was not justified by exigent circumstances. The panel explained that the “knock and talk” exception to the warrant requirement does not apply when officers encroach upon the curtilage of a home with the intent to arrest the occupant. The panel saw no reason to disturb the district court’s finding that the officers’ purpose in knocking on the defendant’s door at 4:00 a.m., in response to a deputy’s request that the defendant be arrested, was to find and arrest him. The panel held that the officers therefore violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful searches when they stood on his porch and knocked on his front door. Since this unconstitutional conduct caused the allegedly exigent circumstance— crashing noises in the backyard—the panel concluded that that circumstance cannot justify the search resulting in the seizure of the handguns.

The panel held that the warrantless search was not justified as a protective sweep, because the officers lacked a reasonable ground for believing that there was a danger that would have justified the sweep of the defendant’s home.

The panel held that the inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule does not apply, because the officers knew they had probable cause to arrest the defendant but failed to obtain any warrant before coming onto his porch and knocking on his door with the intention of arresting him

I Hear You Knocking | Dave Edmunds

United States v. Lundin, 817 F.3d 1151 (9th Cir. 2016), Full Opinion at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/03/22/14-10365.pdf

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