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Old January 15, 2012, 06:39 PM   #1
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This Got Me Wondering...

Police Enter Home w/o Warrant Through Window

Assuming the article has the facts straight, what if something like this happened in a Castle Doctrine area? Would it be a reasonable assumption of an occupant that the people entering the home, even though uniformed and possibly having identified themselves as police, were not police since they essentially broke in and entered through a window? I can't even imagine the twists and turns a case like that would take if the occupant had been armed and responded to the possible intruders with force. So I put it to you all, opinions?
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Old January 15, 2012, 07:09 PM   #2
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No warrant, no probable cause. I hope they drop the hammer on these cops.
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Old January 15, 2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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I have two points-

There is CLEARLY many many details being left out of this. The way it reads now is baffling and makes no sense. Why were they even going in in the first place? If they heard a dog inside why did they go in, and then shoot in, knowingly putting themselves in danger? I can keep going and going, ive got about 20 questions about this. Point is it makes no sense without additional details.

No warrant, no entry, regardless of the circumstances. Short of chasing a maniac and visually seeing him enter private property, police have no business entering private property. If they wanted to clear out vagrants they should have told a judge about it. That specific interaction is what separates us from soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, pick your poison. They should lose their jobs, be charged with a crime, and the individuals and the department should both be civilly liable.
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Old January 15, 2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Add Albuquerque to your list. We have a great "animal protection ordinance" that allows the cops to enter residences to "rescue animals" without warrants. Hasn't been tested in court yet afaik.
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Old January 15, 2012, 08:19 PM   #5
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Police responded to a false alarm at my bosses house not that long ago. He forgot to lock the door to his basement, which is in a yard surrounded by a locked 8' wooden fence. The cops scaled the fence and entered/searched his house though the open door, without any kind of warrant. All thing being equal his Alarm DID go off though.
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Old January 15, 2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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SHNO... is correct that there isn't enough info in the story to know what was going on. That being said...

There are several exceptions to the warrant rule all covered by case law [and constantly changing and evolving]. And many circumstances where police may and should enter with out a warrant.

Example: Neighbors call with reports of a burglary in progress of a home where the residents are away.

Welfare checks
Exigent Circumstances
Domestic Violence Situations
and the list goes on:
Now the officers on the scene have to be able to articulate specifically how their actions were covered under one of the recognized exceptions to the warrant rule and it is guaranteed that there will be administrative and Court review of their actions.

But to say No Warrant / No Entry ever is just plain incorrect.

Mike J
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Old January 15, 2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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I wonder what possessed them to go through the window in the first place? I can't speak to LE training, but in the fire academy we are taught never to enter through a window unless we have no other options. I could see a situation where you get hung up for a few seconds on whatever junk the occupants have stacked up under the window. A few seconds of you being a sitting duck and unable to draw may be all an adversary needs.

In a structure fire situation, the only time we would enter through a window would be if all doors are blocked or if a victim is immediately visible.
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Old January 15, 2012, 08:50 PM   #8
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Sometimes an unlocked window or easily jimmyed one [maybe even the same one the "burglar" entered through] is preferable to trashing [ie: kicking in] the property owners door. It's kinda one of those judgement calls that you have to be there for.

Mike J
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Old January 16, 2012, 12:00 AM   #9
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Yeah... If I awoke from a slumber (day or night), the person entering my window is a direct threat to my well being and will be dealt with as any other threat invading my home... No warrant??? HOME INVASION!!!

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Old January 16, 2012, 12:33 AM   #10
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I wasnt being quite that literal. I understand that police have reasons to enter private property, to save lives and protect people. I just took the short cut of saying it by referencing chasing a maniac. I really dont think the police, in this situation, are going to be able to pull a valid reason out of their butts, such as a serial killer just went in and they were hot on his tail.

checking on welfare-maniacs not taking care of each other to the point of bodily harm

"extingent circumstances"-uhh...maniacs

domestic violence- some maniac beating a family member.

My main point was im very curious to learn what these circumstances were that caused these police to enter without a warrant. It reads like they went there to bust up a homeless junkie flophouse. Im sure a judge would have signed that warrant.

Since when does private property being abandoned mean you can trespass freely? especially when its being occupied!?! Thats hardly abandoned. And they had to have known someone was in there for two reasons. If this dog was such a menace, they would have heard it barking. And second if they were going to break up a flop, that means theres people there and its not abandoned. They cant just assume without any oversight that people living in houses are homeless, thats ridiculous.

When i said no warrant, no entry, no exceptions, I was talking about two cops standing in a guys driveway, like, man, i really wish we could go in there. Theres no amount of prostitutes or drugs or homeless squatters that make police gods that can do what they want. warrants are there for a reason.

And for the record, i believe you are a police officer and i respect that, and also im very early in the process of becoming a police officer myself, so im not some foil hat authority-phobe.
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Old January 16, 2012, 04:53 PM   #11
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There has to be more to this story.
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Old January 16, 2012, 05:49 PM   #12
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Funky situations like that put people at risk; burglar barred windows and properly secured doors can greatly improve the quality of one's sleep, IME. Afterall, who would feel threatened by a politely knocking peace officer?
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Old January 16, 2012, 07:37 PM   #13
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Get a lawyer and sue the City, Police Dept and officers involved. Let the Courts settle it.
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Old January 17, 2012, 03:22 PM   #14
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Theres three sides of the story the victim or perpetrator whos house the police are entering, the LEOs side and then there's the truth. I would like to know the entire story from both sides.
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Old January 17, 2012, 04:04 PM   #15
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I'm also puzzled by the decision to enter through a window. According to the story:
Originally Posted by NBC
The Huntington Beach police department, which is investigating the incident, said in a press release that officers had responded to reports that transients were living in an abandoned trailer at the Ocean View Estates Mobile Home Park.

“Police officers knocked on the doors and windows and yelled inside, but received no response,” Lt. Russell Reinhard said in the press release. “They entered the trailer and were charged by a pit-bull terrier dog that weighed about 100 pounds. The police officers feared for their safety and one police officer fired his handgun, striking the dog and killing it.”

Reinhard repeatedly referred to the property as abandoned, and made a reference to Robert Conger as its former owner.
(Emphasis supplied). So let me see if I've got this straight: Police had received reports of transients squatting in a trailer, so they knocked on doors and windows and yelled inside. When they got no response, they decided to go in through a window with no warrant. . .

I do hope that there's more to the story, because that decision really makes no sense as it stands.
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Last edited by Spats McGee; January 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Clarification
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