Case #: 1-1, pg. 7
Case Description: Christian Smith’s couch caught on fire inside his apartment. The following day a neighbor calls 9-1-1, fireman Jason Blubaum responds via person vehicle. With the landlords permission he searches the apartment and confirms that there is no further danger. He leaves the apartment, in about 5 minutes battalion chief Aaron Watson and engine-company arrive non-emergency. Jason informed him of what happened and was sent home. The landlord asks the battalion chief to check the apartment again. He goes accompanied with policeman Keith Cox . They find marijuana, rolling papers and a smoking pipe. They pick up smith from work and bring him back to the apartment. He is informed they have been in his apartment prior to now and that they intend to search his apartment. Urging him to sign a search warrant he finally gives in and signs it. They search his apartment and seize a marijuana plant and some drug paraphernalia. Smith I then charged with manufacture of a controlled substance. Main Point/ Theme: Search of Arson Sight without a Warrant
I don’t feel like the initial entry of the apartment by the battalion chief and the police officer was lawful. Technically it was a second search from the previous one by Fireman Blubaum but looked as if it was a continued search from the first. The search of anyone’s property without a warrant is only permitted under exigent circumstance such as the need for a fire to be extinguished or from personal consent. It was the following day and there was no need for the apartment to be searched at all. I’m not even sure if it was even legal for his landlord to let the fireman in the apartment, unless he was granted the right to do that in the leasing contract. Apart from that it was in fact an unreasonable search given that the rather small fire happened the previous day and that there was no reason at all for the apartment to be searched. Yes, Smith’s consent was absolutely given involuntarily. He...
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