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Name: United States v. Arrellano-Ochoa
Case #: 04-30545
Opinion Date: 08/31/2006
Citation: 461 Fed.3d 1142

A Border Patrol agent and two Montana police officers went to a home where they believed that an illegal alien was living and was possibly involved in drug crimes. They were in plainclothes and using unmarked cars. When they approached an open door, appellant swung it almost shut, ran out of sight, and closed the window shades. The Border Patrol agent opened the door immediately. One of the officers saw a gun. They entered the home and handcuffed appellant. A subsequent search revealed drugs, firearms, and money. Appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence was denied, but the indictment was dismissed because of a speedy trial violation. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal order and the denial of the suppression motion. Although the officers infringed on appellant’s legitimate expectation of privacy by opening the door, his actions suggested that the officers and a nearby woman and child were at risk of being shot at through the screen door. Exigent circumstances justified the warrantless intrusion into the home.