Hughes v. Wyoming
In Hughes v. Wyoming, 2003 WY 35, 65 P.3d 378 (Wyo. 2003), officers investigating a child runaway approached a residence at which they believed the runaway might be located.
When they arrived at the doorway, a man exited the home, but when he noticed the officers, turned around as if to go back inside. The officers "observed that the man smelled of burnt marihuana, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, and his movements were somewhat slow." 65 P.3d at 380-81.
The officers asked the man if they could talk to the occupant of the home about the runaway. When the man opened the door for the officers, they smelled marijuana and, through the open door, could see a marijuana pipe, scales, and loose marijuana on the coffee table. The officers entered the apartment behind the man. The people inside the house confirmed that they had been smoking marijuana, and a subsequent search pursuant to a warrant resulted in the seizure of marijuana.
The Supreme Court of Wyoming concluded that the warrantless entry into the home was supported by exigent circumstances. Id. at 382-83.
The court reasoned that the officers could smell the odor of marijuana and see it through the open door of the home. Id. at 382.
It also explained that the man at the door "had knowledge of the deputies' arrival," and therefore "the deputies could have reasonably concluded that the man would, if given the chance, inform the other occupants of their presence, allowing the occupants to quickly dispose of the evidence." Id.