Hopkins v. Bonvicino (9th Circuit),talks about whether the cops can enter a home w/out a warrant following a traffic accident where one of the involved motorists says “he looked under the influence, smelled of alcohol, and drove home.” The cops go to the home, the occupant won’t answer the door, so they cut a hole in a screen door and enter, then arrest the occupant for DUI / hit and run.
The 9th Circuit discusses Welch v. Wisconsin, and the California Supreme Court follow up to that opinion, People v. Thompson. Great quote: “The fact that the California Supreme Court expressed its disagreement with the United States Supreme Court …and that it took a different view of the Fourth Amendment than this circuit and the United States Supreme Court does not alter our conclusion in this case.”
They hold that a warrantless entry to obtain evidence of a misdemeanor will “seldom, if ever” pass Constitutional muster.
This is a wise case. It firmly and correctly puts the California Supreme Court in its place. No more non-felonious exigency exception to warrantless entry into the San Diego house to drag out your dui client. No more citizen’s arrest for drunk driving without the San Diego cop having probable cause.