The Federal Judge Wrote, “…summary judgment is appropriate as to plaintiffs’ claim that defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their house to arrest Carl.”
Meanwhile in an alternative universe, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren told the Northwest Herald,
“Our officers did nothing wrong.
“Our people did the right thing, and I support them 100 percent.”
The headline above is excerpted from that part of Federal Judge Frederick Kapala’s decision which you can read below:
“B. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
“In their motion, plaintiffs request summary judgment on Count V of their complaint, claiming that defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their house to arrest Carl and reentering and/or remaining in their house after Carl had been removed and placed in a squad car.
“Plaintiffs contend that no exigent circumstances existed to justify defendants’ warrantless entry into their house.
“In their response, Defendants claim that they did have probable cause to enter the home; that Carl was located in the threshold of the home, a public area; and that exigent circumstances existed because Carl attempted to shut the door and retreat into the house and because defendants needed to be sure the home was secure after the glass pane in the door was broken.
“Here, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to defendants, the court concludes that summary judgment is appropriate as to plaintiffs’ claim that defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their house to arrest Carl.
“As in their motion for partial summary judgment, in their response to plaintiffs’ motion, defendants do not specify the exigent circumstances that warranted their entry into plaintiffs’ house, but seem to focus their argument on a claim that Carl was in the threshold of the house, a public place.
“As the court reasoned above, there is no evidence before the court to suggest that Carl was in the threshold of the home at the time of his arrest.
“Rather, the evidence before the court demonstrates that Carl was not in the threshold at the time of his arrest, as he opened the door only a few inches and did not stick his face in the door to see the officers.
“Further, defendants’ statement that Carl closed the door and “tried to escape into the house” is insufficient to establish that exigent circumstances existed to justify defendants’ entry into the house.
“While entry may be justified to prevent a suspect’s escape, an escape “into the house” is not an exigent circumstance.
“Rather, defendants would have to show that they had a concern that Carl would escape from, not into, the house, and would do so before defendants could obtain a search warrant for the house. United States v. Patino, 830 F.2d 1413, 1416 (7th Cir. 1987) (finding that exigent circumstances were not present where four police officers could have surrounded the suspect’s home to prevent a possible escape attempt while obtaining a telephonic warrant to search the suspect’s house); see also United States v. Green, 41 F.3d 1511, 1994 WL 622147, at *2 (7th Cir. 1994) (finding that exigent circumstances existed to prevent the escape of a suspect when officers learned that a person was hanging his foot, arms and head out of a second-floor window in an apparent escape attempt).
“Even viewing the facts in the light most favorable to defendants, defendants have not identified evidence to support their position that exigent circumstances existed to justify their otherwise unlawful entry into plaintiffs’ house.
“Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment is therefore granted.”
I quote the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution here.
You can read the entire decision here.