SCOTUS Refuses ‘To Print a New Permission Slip for Entering the Home Without a Warrant’
In California v. Lange (2019), the California Court of Appeal held that a police offer may always enter a suspect’s home without a warrant if the officer is in “hot pursuit” of the suspect and has probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a misdemeanor. Today, in an important win for Fourth Amendment advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling. “We are not eager—more the reverse—to print a new permission slip for entering the home without a warrant,” declared Justice Elena Kagan in Lange v. California.
The case originated when Arthur Gregory Lange drew the attention of a California highway patrol officer for honking his horn and playing his car stereo at a loud volume, both of which are traffic infractions at worst. The officer followed Lange’s car and ultimately switched on his overhead lights just a few seconds before Lange pulled into his own driveway. Lange, who says he never saw the officer’s lights in his rearview mirror, entered his driveway and pulled into his garage. The officer quickly parked, exited his vehicle, stuck his foot under the garage door to prevent it from closing, and performed a search without a warrant.
The state of California has “argued that
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