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Name: United States v. Brooks
Case #: 02-50539
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/13/2004
Subsequent History: Cert. den. 1/1/05

Police officers entered appellant’s hotel room based on a 911 emergency phone call from a hotel guest in an adjacent room who thought she heard the sounds of a woman being beaten. They established that the woman in the room was not hurt, but then asked if appellant and the woman had anything illegal in the room. Appellant admitted to having marijuana in a drawer, and consented to the seizure of it from the drawer. The officers then picked up a wallet on top of the dresser and searched it, revealing that appellant had lied about his identity, and was actually on parole for bank robbery in Oregon. The officers then searched the room, finding a large amount of cash which was connected to another bank robbery in California. The trial court denied appellant’s suppression motion, finding that the exigent circumstances (a potential domestic violence assault) justified the warrantless entry. Appellant argued on appeal that even if the original entry was justified, the officers were required to leave the room once they established that the woman was not hurt and did not need their help. The appellate court upheld the search and affirmed. The exigent circumstances justified the original entry, and the officers properly remained in the room to ask legitimate questions to determine whether the woman needed assistance. The search of the room was by consent, which was freely given.