Police Search Beyond the Literal Command of a Warrant
Is a Search Beyond the Literal Command of a Warrant Permitted Without Violating Fourth Amendment Rights of Individual Selling Drugs ?
In State v. Forts (1995), 107 Ohio App.3d 403, 668 N.E.2d 1007, drug enforcement agents obtained a warrant to search Forts' residence. Id. at 404.
The warrant permitted officers to search "said residence and on the person of anyone found in the residence." Id.
After parking her car in an alley adjacent to the residence, Forts walked towards the residence and officers arrested and searched her in the alley. Id.
The search of Fort's purse produced crack cocaine, a crack pipe, and a hemostat with cotton. Id.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals held that even though Forts was not "in" the residence, the detention and subsequent search fell within the scope of the warrant. Id. at 406.
The court stated, "the thrust of Cancel permits a search beyond the literal command portion of the warrant when the object of the search is reasonably identifiable with the purpose of the warrant." Id.
"Forts was heading back to the scene of the crime and was stopped only several feet from the entrance. Moreover, the evidence indicated that Forts was in fact heading back into the residence. We cannot say that the police would have to wait for Forts to enter the residence in order to conduct a search under the authority of the warrant. Because Forts was reasonably connected with drug sales at the residence and was located only several feet from the residence, the police did not violate her Fourth Amendment rights by conducting the search." Id.