and Submitted, San Francisco, California September 18, 2015.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California. D.C. No. 4:13-cr-00402-JST-1. Jon S.
Tigar, District Judge, Presiding.
interlocutory appeal by the government, the panel affirmed
the district court's order suppressing handguns seized
from the defendant's home, and remanded for further
panel held that the warrantless search of the defendant's
home was not justified by exigent circumstances. The panel
explained that the " knock and talk" exception to
the warrant requirement does not apply when officers encroach
upon the curtilage of a home with the intent to arrest the
occupant. The panel saw no reason to disturb the district
court's finding that the officers' purpose in
knocking on the defendant's door at 4:00 a.m., in
response to a deputy's request that the defendant be
arrested, was to find and arrest him. The panel held that the
officers therefore violated the defendant's Fourth
Amendment right to be free from unlawful searches when they
stood on his porch and knocked on his front door. Since this
unconstitutional conduct caused the allegedly exigent
circumstance-- crashing noises in the backyard--the panel
concluded that that circumstance cannot justify the search
resulting in the seizure of the handguns.
panel held that the warrantless search was not justified as a
protective sweep, because the officers lacked a reasonable
ground for believing that there was a danger that would have
justified the sweep of the defendant's home.
panel held that the inevitable discovery exception to the
exclusionary rule does not apply, because the officers knew
they had probable cause to arrest the defendant but failed to
obtain any warrant before coming onto his porch and knocking
on his door with the intention of arresting him.
J. Valliere (argued), Chief, Appellate Division, and Melinda
Haag, United States Attorney, San Francisco, California, for
A. Hansen (argued), Chief Assistant Federal Public Defender,
Steven G. Kalar, Federal Public Defender, and Steven J.
Koeninger, Research and Writing Attorney, San Francisco,
California, for Defendant-Appellee.
William A. Fletcher, Marsha S. Berzon, and Carlos T. Bea,
FLETCHER, Circuit Judge:
4:00 a.m. on April 23, 2013, three northern California law
enforcement officers approached Defendant Eric Lundin's
home without either an arrest warrant or a search warrant.
They came onto his front porch and knocked on his door
with the intent of arresting him. From the front porch where
they were standing, the officers heard crashing noises coming
from the back of the house. They ran to the back, ordered
Lundin to come out of the fenced-in backyard, and arrested
him. After putting Lundin in a patrol car, several officers
briefly searched Lundin's home, including the back patio
where they found two handguns in open view. The district
court suppressed the handguns as the result of an illegal
search. The United States appeals. We hold that the officers
violated the Fourth Amendment when they knocked on the door
at 4:00 a.m. without a warrant with the intent of arresting
Lundin, and that the immediately ensuing search was illegal.
We therefore affirm.
12:24 a.m. on April 23, 2013, Deputy Sheriff Scott Aponte of
the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office (" HCSO" )
was dispatched to the Mad River Community Hospital to
interview Susan Hinds, a 63-year-old patient who claimed she
had been kidnapped several hours earlier. In a tape-recorded
statement, Hinds told Deputy Aponte that sometime after 8:00
p.m. on April 22, shortly after her son, Joseph Miller, had
left to go to the store, Eric " Whitey" Lundin
knocked on the door of her mobile home. When Hinds opened the
door, Lundin grabbed her by the neck, forced his way inside,
and accused Miller of stealing marijuana from him.
told Deputy Aponte that, once inside the mobile home, Lundin
took two firearms from his pockets -- a compact silver
handgun and a large black handgun. He then took out a bottle
of pills and forced Hinds to ingest one of the pills. He
described the pills to Hinds as " methadone" and
told her that they were the easiest way to overdose. After
forcing Hinds to ingest the pill, Lundin broke her television
by striking it with one of the handguns. Lundin then pressed
the black handgun against Hinds's temple and forced her
to call Miller to tell him to come home. When the call ended,
Lundin snatched Hinds's cell phone and threw it across
told Deputy Aponte that Lundin repeatedly said that she was
going to die and that, as a member of the Mongols motorcycle
gang, he does not " leave witnesses." Lundin
received two calls on his cell phone while still at the
mobile home. Hinds heard him say during one of the calls,