State of Minnesota V. Othoudt Research Paper
Applied Procedures / LAWE-2260
15 October, 2014
Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Minnesota V. Othoudt, law enforcement officers may not enter or conduct warrantless searches of residences, without consent. Moreover, the police may enter a dwelling, without a warrant, to make a felony arrest if they have probable cause and or exigent circumstances. In this case, if the circumstances of the accident scene had given Deputy Olmanson probable cause to arrest respondent for the offenses he was later charged with, those offenses were charged as misdemeanors (STATE V. OTHOUDT). As of this ...view middle of the document...
Dawn Othoudt the respondent’s wife called 911 to report the accident and stated she was the driver of the vehicle and was not hurt. Because of the blood found in the vehicle, EMS was dispatched to the residence along with Deputy Olmanson. EMS arrived first and began triaging Dawn Othoudt, when the Deputy arrived at the house he could see Dawn Othoudt sitting in the entryway as he approached the front door being evaluated by Paramedics. The Deputy did not seek consent to enter nor did he knock at the door and entered the house without consent. Dawn Othoudt was then questioned by Deputy Olmanson and answered questions. During Questioning, Dawn stated that she had not been driving the vehicle involved in the accident, and it was, in fact, her husband whom Dawn then stated had been drinking all day and was drunk. Dawn pointed upstairs as she said this; Deputy Olmanson went upstairs to discover Richard in bed. Through the interview process it was apparent that Richard was under the influence of alcohol, was placed under arrest and taken to jail and charged. Othoudt was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol within five years of a prior impaired driving conviction, in violation of Minn.Stat. § 169.121, subd. 1(a) and 3(b); refusal to submit to testing, in violation of Minn.Stat. § 169.121, subd. 1(a) and 3(c); and failure to notify police of a personal injury accident, in violation of Minn.Stat. § 169.09, subd. 6 and 14(c) (STATE V. OTHOUDT).
* LEGAL ISSUE: May a law enforcement officer enter a residence without a warrant, and no consent?
* HOLDINGS: The Court found that Deputy Olmanson's initial warrantless entry into the Othoudt home was not justified by consent, emergency, or probable cause and exigent circumstances, there was no need to determine whether Deputy Olmanson's continued search of the Othoudt home, after his entry, was legitimate.
* REASONING: Fourth amendment, searches conducted outside the judicial process are per se unreasonable, subject to a few exceptions (IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA). Courts are particularly reluctant to find exceptions to this rule in the context of a warrantless search or seizure in a home. (State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. James Howard Klein, 2014, p. 3)
Effect on Law Enforcement:
This case demonstrates what went wrong when a law enforcement officer failed to take the appropriate steps when attempting to make a warrantless entry or search of a dwelling. First as in in most cases with or without a warrant, officers must knock and announce their presence (Wilson v. Arkansas). Police may obtain a special no knock warrant signed by a judge allowing them enter a dwelling with a warrant without knocking. Barring that there are no exigent factors present, such as: “hot pursuit”, the imminent destruction of evidence, or the emergency (protection of human life, fire, etc.) an officer must knock and announce their presence and obtain consent verbally to enter the dwelling (without a...