March 27, 2012
Colorado Court of Appeals 3-15-12 People v. Nelson
People v. Nelson Fourth Amendment – Warrantless Search – Exigent Circumstances
Facts: Based upon a snitch, the police go to an apartment where Mr. Nelson resided. At the apartment, the police knocked, lied about their identity, and claimed they saw a pot pipe in the apartment. When the police see another man ‘run’ out the back door, the police barge into the apartment, take Mr. Nelson down with force, and chase the other man. Subsequently, the police search the apartment.
Issue: Whether the police had exigent circumstances to enter the home?
Reasoning: The Court of Appeals reasoned the snitch’s tip along with the pot pipe and running occupant justified the officers entry into the home. Further, although not ‘condoning’ police lies and ruses, the Court of Appeals did just that. The Court of Appeals, like so many other courts, ignores that the police lied to create their own exigency, if one actually existed. Judge Taubman wrote the opinion with Judges Fox and Dailey concurring.