Is It Fair for the Police to Enter a Premises to Search for Evidence of Crime While Consent Was Granted on Some Other Pretext ?
In People v. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d 394, 399, 514 N.E.2d 228, 112 Ill. Dec. 762 (1987), police officers went to the defendant's home, identified themselves, and said that they wanted to discuss the theft that she reported a few days earlier. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 396-97.
The theft case had already been solved, and, in the process of solving it, the police received information that marijuana was in the defendant's home. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 396.
The defendant agreed to speak to the officers and let them inside her home. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 396.
The officers then asked to see where the theft had occurred, and the defendant showed them to the master bedroom; they then proceeded to the kitchen, where the officers saw marijuana on the counter. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 396-97.
The trial court ruled that the real reason that the officers went to the defendant's home was to look for marijuana and that the theft investigation was just a ruse.
This court agreed and also agreed that the officers' misrepresentation was so unfair that it rendered the defendant's consent invalid. Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 400.
The Court stated:
"Where, as here, the law enforcement officer without a warrant uses his official position of authority and falsely claims that he has legitimate police business to conduct in order to gain consent to enter the premises when, in fact, his real reason is to search inside for evidence of a crime, we find that this deception under the circumstances is so unfair as to be coercive and renders the consent invalid.
This police conduct offends the fourth amendment and is fundamentally unfair when compared with the need for effective police investigation." Daugherty, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 400.