Officers learned that the defendant was involved in a robbery and went to his residence. The defendant was not at home but his wife allowed the officers to enter the home and examine her possessions. They found some rings taken in the theft. The officers then “staked out” the house. When the defendant arrived he parked 15 or 20 feet from the house. The officers arrested him as he got out of his car. They searched the defendant’s car, and without permission or a warrant, again searched the house. They found a jewelry case stolen in the robbery, which was admitted into evidence at the defendant’s trial.
Whether the second search of the defendant’s house was authorized as a search incident to arrest?t
No. The public arrest of the defendant does not justify a search of his home.
The Court has consistently held that a search “can be incident to an arrest only if it is substantially contemporaneous with the arrest and is confined to the immediate vicinity of the arrest.” Stoner v. California (1964). The Court has never construed the Fourth Amendment to allow the government, in the absence of an exigency, to arrest a person outside his home and then take him inside for the purpose of conducting a warrantless search. On the contrary, “it has always been assumed that one’s house cannot lawfully be searched without a search warrant, except as an incident to a lawful arrest therein.” Agnello v. United States.
395 U.S. 818, 89 S. Ct. 2053 (1969)