Search & Seizure: KRAUSE V. COM. (SC 10/19/2006)

CRIMINAL:  Search and seizure (consent)
DATE RENDERED: 10/18/2006

On discretionary review, SC reversed Defendant’s convictions and probated sentence for various drug crimes. Police officer’s ruse concerning rape investigation in order to gain entry into residence to search for drugs invalidated consent of residents. The ruse utilized by the Trooper absolutely undermined the purposes inherent in requiring consent to be voluntarily obtained without any implied or express coercion. First, given the time and nature of the Trooper’s ruse, SC believed that Defendant and his roommate were in a particularly vulnerable state. Second, the Trooper’s tactics were unnecessary in this instance and not based on any pressing or imminent tactical considerations. Finally, we believe that if the type of ruse utilized by the Trooper was sanctioned by this Court, citizens would be discouraged from "aiding to the utmost of their ability in the apprehension of criminals" since they would have no way of knowing whether their assistance was being called upon for the public good or for the purpose of incriminating them. SC was careful to note that the holding is limited and narrow. "We do not hold that the use of ruses, in general, is unconstitutional."

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