Officers received an unverified tip that the defendant was growing marijuana in his home. The officers went near the address but did not observe any unusual activity. They decided to approach the home to see if they could learn more. They brought a trained drug-sniffing dog with them, who alerted to the presence of marijuana as it approached the front porch of the home. The dog energetically searched for the strongest indication of the marijuana, ultimately settling on the thresh hold of the front door of the home. The officers departed the scene and obtained a search warrant for the home, based in part on evidence generated by the dog.
Whether the officers were implicitly invited onto the defendant’s front porch?
No. The officers intruded into the defendant’s porch with the intent to conduct a search, which is beyond the anticipated activities of any perceived invitation.
The Supreme Court has previously “recognized that the knocker on the front door is treated as an invitation or license to attempt an entry, justifying ingress to the home by solicitors, hawkers and peddlers of all kinds,” citing Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622 (1951). Law enforcement officers are entitled to the same invitation open to the general public. However, this does not extend an offer to engage in activities outside the customary actions anticipated by this implied invitation. The Court asked “whether the officers had an implied license to enter the porch, which in turn depends upon the purpose for which they entered. Here, their behavior objectively reveals a purpose to conduct a search, which is not what anyone would think he had license to do.” Therefore, the intrusion was unreasonable.
569 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1409 (2013)
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