Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nice appellate win for the Federal Defenders

It's not too often that the 11th Circuit sides with the defendant in an appeal involving the 4th Amendment.  But Judges Tjoflat, Pryor, and Fay issued United States v. Timmann yesterday, which discusses the emergency aid and protective sweep exceptions to the warrant requirement.  Here's one excerpt:
The situation the officers confronted in the instant case bears none of these indicia of an urgent, ongoing emergency. The officers here did not receive an emergency report regarding an ongoing disturbance, but rather a service call regarding what appeared to be a bullet hole, which circumstances known to the officers indicated had been made at least 39 hours prior to when the officers made entry.5
When Officer Martin first arrived at the apartment building, she did not encounter a tumultuous scene, nor were the officers met with chaos when they returned to the building the next day. The officers observed no violent behavior, nor did they see or hear evidence that a fight had taken place or that anyone had been injured, other than finding a single bullet hole.

Nor did the officers have any information that would lead them to suspect that Timmann might be suicidal, or that he might be home (in fact, the absence of his work vehicle indicated that he was likely not at home). Considering the totality of the circumstances, it was not reasonable for the officers to believe that someone inside Timmann’s apartment was in danger and in need of immediate aid. Therefore, we find that the District Court erred in holding that the emergency aid exception justified the officers’ warrantless entry into Timmann’s apartment.

Congratulations to AFPD Brenda Bryn for the appellate victory and AFPD Chantel Doakes for preserving the issue in the trial court.


Anonymous said...

Caruso is a legend.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Bryn is the Brittney Griner of appellate advocacy - this was a case that was selected as part of the 11th circuit appellate practice institute at the last minute after a big civil case settled right before oral argument. Brenda was slammed by the panel and later by the trainers of the institute -- which makes the win that much sweeter

Anonymous said...

The FPDs have once again shown themselves to be the premier criminal defense firm in town. Congratulations, you all are really terrific.

s/ Not your parents

Anonymous said...

One of the best opinions of the year, by the way, written by the Eleventh Circuit. Very, very good -- stylistically, doctrinally, structurally. Way to go, Tjoflat.