People v. Allison

In People v. Allison, 86 P.3d 421 (Colo. 2004), police were dispatched to a residence after a 911 hang-up call. A woman answered the door, revealed that a domestic dispute had occurred, and eventually let an officer inside. The officer removed the individuals involved in the altercation from the residence and then reentered the residence without a search warrant. The trial court found, and no party disputed, that the initial entry was either consensual or justified by an emergency. Allison, 86 P.3d at 423. The question was whether the re-entry was valid without a search warrant based upon the emergency assistance exception. The Colorado Supreme Court held the emergency aid exception did not support the officer's re-entry into the home after arresting and removing the offenders. The Court concluded no emergency existed at the time the officer re-entered the home because the domestic incident was over, the individuals involved had been removed from the premises and there was no indication anyone else was involved in the incident. Therefore, the officer had no reasonable basis to believe an emergency continued to exist requiring his assistance. Additionally the Court found the evidence demonstrated the officer entered the residence the second time to conduct a criminal investigation, rather than to render emergency assistance. The Court affirmed the trial court's order suppressing the evidence.