Officers’ warrantless entry and search of house was reasonably justified by the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement even though officers mistakenly searched the wrong house based on information provided by a radio dispatch broadcast. Police received a call about a screaming woman across from 2314 Jupiter Drive, but the radio dispatch broadcast apparently stated that the woman was heard at 2314 Jupiter Drive and officers went to that address instead. Upon arrival, they could hear several people arguing inside, and could see two males gesturing as if in an argument. The officers knocked and, after a delay, defendant answered the door. Over defendant’s objection, the officers entered the house and observed two females sitting on the couch. The officers proceeded to search the house and discovered narcotics in a closed bedroom closet. Defendant was charged with drug offenses, and entered into a plea bargain following the denial of his suppression motion. On appeal, defendant challenged the warrantless search of his residence. Held: Affirmed. Under the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement, police may enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury. Here, it was objectively reasonable for the officers to believe that immediate entry to the residence was necessary to render emergency assistance to a screaming female victim inside based on the information the officers had at the time of the search, despite the fact that they searched the wrong house. Given defendant’s delay in opening the door, the fact that the women the officers found in the living room appeared to be fine, and the large size of the house, it was reasonable for officers to search the entire house to look for the screaming woman or the perpetrator with whom she might have been arguing.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B269349.PDF