Wednesday, August 01, 2012

police liability for warrantless entry into home

Ryburn v. Huff - US Supreme Court - January 23, 2012

Sec. 1983 liability for police entry into private home rejected.

In Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U. S. 398, 400 (2006), we held that officers may enter a residence without a warrant when they have "an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is . . . imminently threatened with [serious injury]." We explained that "‘[t]he need to protect or preserve life or avoid serious injury is justificationfor what would be otherwise illegal absent an exigency or emergency.’" Id., at 403 (quoting Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 392 (1978)). In addition, in Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U. S. 103, 118 (2006), the Court stated that "it would be silly to suggest that the police would commit a tort by entering [a residence] . . . to determine whetherviolence . . . is about to (or soon will) occur." There was such an objectively reasonable basis in this case, involving entry into the home of a student who was alleged to have threatened to "shoot up" his school.