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Name: United States v. Black
Case #: 05-10640
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/26/2006

The victim, Walker, reported to police that her ex-boyfriend, Black, had beaten her up that morning. She reported that she intended to go to Black’s apartment and retrieve her clothing, and that she and her mother would wait outside for police in a white truck. When police arrived, there was no sign of Walker. Police looked first at the store from which Walker was calling, and then proceeded back to the apartment. When no one answered at the apartment, officers went out back and found Black. After a discussion in which Black admitted the domestic violence and became agitated, police officers searched his pockets, with his consent, and found a key to the apartment. Officers entered the apartment, and spotted a gun on the bed in plain view. The officer left, arrested Black, and sought a warrant for the gun. The appellate court affirmed the denial of Black’s suppression motion. The police were justified in their entry because they feared that Walker was inside the apartment and was injured or in need of medical attention. The search of the apartment was justified by exigent circumstances. This was a “welfare search” where rescue is the objective, rather than a search for crime. The officers’ decision was reasonable under the circumstances.