Is Detention to Determine Identity During Search Warrant Legal ?
In People v. Glaser (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 354, officers arrived at a private home to search it pursuant to a search warrant.
The defendant arrived about 20 seconds ahead of the officers and was about to open the gate to the property when the officers arrived and detained him. (People v. Glaser, supra, 11 Cal. 4th 354, 360.)
Our Supreme Court found that the initial detention was "justified by the need to determine defendant's identity and connection to the premises and to protect the officers' own safety." (Ibid.)
Applying the principles of Michigan v. Summers, supra, 452 U.S. 692, and Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S. 1, our Supreme Court tested the detention against the reasonableness standard by balancing "the extent of the intrusion against the government interests justifying it, looking in the final and dispositive portion of the analysis to the individualized and objective facts that made those interests applicable in the circumstances of the particular detention. " (Glaser, at p. 365.)
After applying this test, the court found "specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion." (Id. at p. 373.)
However, the court rejected the proposition that the mere presence of a person at a home which is being searched pursuant to a warrant is sufficient reason to justify a detention for the purposes of determining identification and connection to the searched premises. (Id. at pp. 373-374.)
The court then articulated some standards to guide courts and officers in search warrant situations:
"The existence of a warrant to search a home for illegal drugs, the presence of an unknown person on the premises when police begin the search, and the officer's inability to immediately determine the person's identity and connection to the premises without effecting a detention, are specific and articulable facts that, on balance, reasonably warrant a detention limited to the time and means needed to resolve the questions of identity and occupancy and to protect the safety of those present while those questions are resolved." (Id. at pp. 374-375.)