Constitutional Law,  Criminal Procedure,  Search & Seizure

An Arrest Warrant is an Arrest Warrant is an Arrest Warrant

At least, when it comes to whether the police may enter a residence when executing it.

In U.S. v. Gooch, case no. 06-30645 (9th Cir. Nov. 1, 2007), the defendant was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was arrested when reaching for firearms during the execution of a warrant for the search of his residence.

He claimed the search warrant was invalid because it was based on police officers’ observation of drug paraphernalia when they got out of their express van and entered the residence to execute an arrest warrant for Gooch’s roommate. Gooch contended that because the arrest warrant was only a misdemeanor bench warrant for failure to appear, it did not authorize the police to enter the residence, and thus the observations of drug paraphernalia that were use to justify the search warrant were tainted..

The Ninth rejects the argument. Joining several other circuits, the court says that an arrest warrant of whatever stripe authorizes the police to enter a residence to the extent necessary to execute it so long as they have probable cause to believe the suspect is in the residence.