Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Police In Home Searches Without Objector Present
Walter Fernandez flatly told Los Angeles police that they could not search his home without a warrant, saying, “You don’t have any right to come in here. I know my rights.”
But the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Fernandez’s right to keep police out ended when he left the premises — even though that was only because police had arrested him and taken him to the station.
An hour later, police returned without a warrant but persuaded the woman Fernandez lived with, Roxanne Rojas, to let them look around. They found evidence that led to a host of charges that cost Fernandez 14 years in prison.
The court ruled 6 to 3 that when occupants of a dwelling disagree on whether they will admit police without a warrant, the objecting occupant must be physically present. That doesn’t change if police have removed the objector, the court said.
“An occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.
Alito said there was no need for officers to obtain a warrant. When they arrived the first time, having followed Fernandez from the scene of a robbery, Rojas answered the door crying, with a bump on her nose and blood on her hands and shirt.