In a recent 5-2 opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed with a woman who argued that a police officer made an “unreasonable” arrest inside her apartment without a search warrant. Justices also questioned some of the evidence used to convict her of drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Jennifer Hammerlund and her attorney argued that her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures were violated four years ago during her arrest in her home, and that the evidence gathered afterwards – alcohol breath tests indicating she was drunk – should be excluded from her case.
She was sentenced to four months of jail after being convicted of a third operating while intoxicated offense, as well as failing to report a crash resulting in damage to fixtures.
“We would venture that what society would not view as reasonable is exactly what occurred in this case — that a person suspected of a minor misdemeanor could be subjected to a warrantless arrest inside her home in the middle of the night,” wrote Justice Megan Cavanagh in the majority opinion.
Justices Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra disagreed, writing that they believe the decision invalidates legitimately obtained evidence, adding that even if police improperly entered Hammerlund’s home, the evidence gathered after her arrest should be allowed to be admitted at trial.
A Michigan State University law professor said the decision reinforces requirements for police officers in most cases to first obtain a search warrant before entering a person’s home.
We’ll have more on this important case in an upcoming blog.
If you face criminal charges that include evidentiary issues, please contact our Ann Arbor office for help in defending your rights and freedom.