State v. Santiago

In State v. Santiago, 224 Conn. 494, 619 A.2d 1132 (1993), a police officer knocked on the defendant's door while investigating a complaint that the defendant had threatened a neighbor with a handgun. The defendant opened his door and stood directly in his doorway while speaking with the officer. Id., at 497. Thereafter, the defendant consented to remain in his doorway while the officer consulted with his supervisor. Id., at 497, 502. When the officer returned, the defendant was still standing in his doorway with the door wide open. Id., at 497. The officer arrested the defendant for threatening and subsequently performed a search incident to the arrest. Id. The Court, in upholding the validity of the defendant's arrest, concluded that the defendant "voluntarily relinquished any expectation of privacy at the time of his arrest" because, essentially, he consented to remain in his doorway and consented to be arrested. Id., at 502. In reaching its conclusion, our Supreme Court acknowledged that a split of authority exists as to whether a defendant surrenders his reasonable expectation of privacy in his home merely by opening his door in response to a knock by the police. State v. Santiago, supra, 224 Conn. at 501-502. The court, however, expressly declined to reach that issue and instead based its conclusion on the defendant's acquiescence. The court stated: "Even in United States v. Berkowitz, 927 F.2d 1376 the court held that the defendant would be deemed to have acquiesced in his arrest if he had not attempted to question his arrest, or to close the door, but had merely asked whether he might retrieve his coat from inside his home. . . . The manifestations of acquiescence on the present record are clear. Far from attempting to close his door, the defendant unconditionally agreed to the request of the police officer that he remain standing in his doorway . . . ." State v. Santiago, supra, 224 Conn. at 502.