Is Detention During Search Warrant Legal ?
In People v. Hannah (1996), 51 Cal. App. 4th 1335 officers serving an arrest warrant on a third person arrived at an apartment and told the occupants to remain seated.
Based on the defendant's dilated eyes, the officers suspected him of being under the influence, and they attempted to arrest him. After a struggle, they succeeded in doing so. (Id. at p. 1339.)
After discussing Barton v. Summers (M.D.Tenn. 2000) and People v. Glaser (1995), the court applied a totality of the circumstances test and found the detention reasonable. With regard to the crucial distinguishing factor, the lack of a search warrant, the court said:
"Defendant correctly points out that Summers, supra, and the other cases discussed, involved detention of an individual during the execution of a search warrant for contraband. by the same token, none of these cases require the existence of a search warrant for contraband as a prerequisite to finding the detention of an individual to be reasonable. the existence of a warrant is but one factor the courts consider when determining the governmental interest involved." (Id. at p. 1343.)
The court went on to hold, in terms we find dispositive, as follows: "Objectively, it is reasonable for a police officer who is in a residence attempting to execute an arrest warrant to determine who is present.
This is true even when he does not reasonably believe any one of them is the subject of the arrest warrant.
If the police officer has received information the suspect he is attempting to arrest is in the residence, it is reasonable to conclude people inside may know the suspect and have information concerning where he might be found.
Additionally, a reasonable police officer could be concerned the individuals in the residence not only know the suspect, but are either related to or friends with him.
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude the individuals may attempt to alert the suspect to the fact the police are there or might assist him in escaping.
Consequently, there was a legitimate governmental interest in detaining defendant to determine who he was and if he had any information concerning the juvenile they were searching for, while the other officers searched the apartment.
In addition, the detention was reasonably necessary to ensure defendant did not warn the juvenile or assist him in evading arrest." (Id. at pp. 1345-1346.)