The Lawletter Vol 47 No 1
Arthur Lange (“Lange”) drove past a highway patrol officer with his windows down, music blaring, and repeatedly honking on his horn; in short, Lange “was asking for attention.” Lange v. California, 141 S. Ct. 2011, 2016 (2021). The officer followed Lange a short distance before turning on his overhead light and attempting to pull Lange over. Id. Lange was seconds away from his home, however, and chose to continue to his driveway and pull into his garage. Id. The officer continued his pursuit and confronted Lange with the subsequent investigation revealing, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Lange was under the influence of alcohol.See id. (blood test revealed Lange was more than three times the legal limit).
Upon being charged with driving under the influence as well as a noise infraction, Lange moved to suppress all the evidence obtained by the officer’s warrantless entry into the garage. Id. In response, the prosecution argued that “the pursuit of a suspected misdemeanant always qualifies as an exigent circumstance authorizing a warrantless home entry.” Id. (emphasis added). The state courts accepted this argument and the U.S. Supreme Court granted review to resolve the conflict between the various state/federal courts regarding a categorical rule of exigency when in pursuit of a fleeing suspect. Id. at 2017.Read More