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Name: People v. Colt
Case #: B167293
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 05/27/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 8/11/04

A police officer’s knocking on appellant’s door and then hiding in an effort to make appellant leave his hotel room did not constitute an unlawful police tactic requiring suppression of evidence. On appeal, Colt argued that the act of knocking on a door and then stepping out of a view to lure a suspect out of his home violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court of Appeal disagreed, distinguishing older cases that involved police ruses used to gain visual entry into a suspects’ home. Further, the court noted that the officers here did not misrepresent their identities or purpose, and that the officer’s act of stepping out of sight was partly motivated by concern for officer safety. Because appellant voluntarily left his house, the officers were not required to identify themselves. A “knock and talk” encounter between police and a suspect is lawful under the Fourth Amendment, and police did not lose the right to initiate such an encounter merely by concealing themselves prior to appellant’s exit. Finally, the contact with appellant did not constitute a detention.