In the Absence of Exigent Circumstances Is Probable Cause Enough to Justify a Warrantless Search and Seizure ?

In People v. Hassan, 253 Ill. App. 3d 558, 191 Ill. Dec. 952, 624 N.E.2d 1330 (1993), the court found that exigent circumstances were absent and therefore, the police intrusion into defendant's home was not justified. In Hassan police officers, acting on an anonymous tip, set up surveillance of defendant's home and witnessed several people walk up to the house and exchange money for a small package that was given to them by the defendant. One of the undercover police officers walked to the front door, knocked and asked, "what you got?" 253 Ill. App. 3d at 562. The defendant retrieved a small packet from the bar and handed it to the police officer at which time the officer announced his office and attempted to arrest the defendant. The defendant tried to close the door but was unsuccessful. He then pushed the door open and ran out into the front yard, where he was apprehended and arrested. The police officers proceeded to enter the home and search for narcotics. On appeal, the court found the police unlawfully entered defendant's home to seize the narcotics. The court stated, "we believe that there was probable cause to believe that a quantity of cocaine was on the premises, but there was no 'emergency' which required a quick response. The officers could have obtained a warrant without the risk that the suspect would escape or harm others. In short, there was no need for swift action." Hassan, 253 Ill. App. 3d at 571. The court concluded that probable cause alone cannot justify a warrantless search and seizure absent exigent circumstances.