Court Upholds Warrantless Arrest


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Case: People v. Hammerlund

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Judges: Per Curiam – Murray, Sawyer, and Markey

Issues:

Search & seizure; Motion to suppress evidence; Lawfulness of defendant’s warrantless arrest; MCL 764.15(1)(d); Applicability of the exclusionary rule; People v. Hawkins; Probable cause; People v. Lyon; Whether the arrest occurred in a public place; Principle that the Fourth Amendment draws a firm line at the home entrance; Payton v. New York; People v. Williams; United States v. Santana; People v. Collier; People v. Beachman; Distinguishing Cummings v. City of Akron (6th Cir.) & Flores v. Lackage (ND IL); Applicability of the “hot pursuit” exception to the warrant requirement; Welsh v. Wisconsin

Summary:

The court held that the trial court properly did not apply the exclusionary rule based on a violation of MCL 764.15, and did not err in concluding that defendant’s warrantless arrest was constitutionally valid as it was supported by probable cause. Further, it did not err in ruling that she was in a public place when she was arrested. Thus, it correctly denied her motion to suppress evidence. She was convicted of operating under the influence of intoxicants (third offense) and failure to report an accident to fixtures. She abandoned her car after crashing into a guardrail. Officer S learned that the car belonged to defendant and went to her home, where he began a conversation with her as she stood 15 to 20 feet inside. She gave her driver’s license to a third party, who walked it over to S. She told S that she was the owner of the car and had been driving it. “She confirmed that she did not report the accident.” S testified that he believed she was intoxicated. He held the license out for only defendant to retrieve. When she came to the doorway and reached outside to take it back, S “grabbed her wrist to take her into custody for the ‘hit and run charge.’” She was handcuffed in the home.

While S was “under the misimpression that the crime of failure to report damages to fixtures was a 93-day misdemeanor, as the trial court ruled, ‘the plain language of MCL 764.15 does not create a remedy of exclusion.’” Further, when defendant reached out to grab her identification, she crossed “Payton’s ‘firm line’ of the entrance to her house,” and exposed “herself to a public arrest based on probable cause.” Although she tried to distinguish Santana, by “voluntarily moving into the doorway, defendant exposed herself to a fundamentally unique characteristic of a public place that she had not up to that point – touch. By extending her arm beyond the threshold, she went further than the defendant in Santana,” who stood right in the doorway. While she also cited Welsh, the court found that it did not compel the same result in her case. Rather, consistent with Santana, S “did not proceed directly from the accident scene into defendant’s home and arrest her in her bedroom or even while in the confines of her home.” Affirmed.

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