Commonwealth v. Collin Rowe 2009 PA Super 215 (11/12/2009)

Topic: Warrantless Entry – Motion to Suppress

Summary: A police officer must be able to identify exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless entry into a home.  An open door during the “typical waking hours of the night” with no other facts showing exigency is insufficient to justify a warrantless entry.

Facts: During a nighttime storm that caused downed powerlines, a police officer entered Rowe’s home through an open rear door.  The officer witnessed nor received any reports of suspicious activity.  The officer also did not receive any calls or requests for help at Rowe’s address.  The officer announced his presence and proceeded to search the residence.  The officer recovered a marijuana pipe. The officer took the pipe and left the residence.  Rowe was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia (35 Pa.C.S.A. Section 780-113(a)(32)).  The Superior Court concluded that the facts as presented were not sufficient to justify the officer’s warrantless entry into Rowe’s home.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/A09011_09.pdf