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community care taking Archives

Community Care Taking Not a Substitute for a Warrant in Tennessee

Another 'community care taking' case has recently been addressed by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. 'Community care taking' generally refers to the role of law enforcement authorities in checking on the welfare of people who may be distressed. In many jurisdictions, it is one of the recognized exceptions to the general requirement that a police officer must have a warrant to conduct a search or seizure. Tennessee courts, in recent decisions, have adopted the view that it is not, under Tennessee law, an exception. Consent is still an exception. But an encounter is not always consensual just because an officer may be legitimately acting in community care taking capacity. In the recent case of State v. Shouse, M2013-00863-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-21-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling excluding evidence of a DUI offense where the evidence was discovered by a police officer checking on the welfare of motorist who appeared to be unconscious inside a truck.

Community Care Taking Not a Substitute for a Warrant in Tennessee

Another 'community care taking' case has recently been addressed by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. 'Community care taking' generally refers to the role of law enforcement authorities in checking on the welfare of people who may be distressed. In many jurisdictions, it is one of the recognized exceptions to the general requirement that a police officer must have a warrant to conduct a search or seizure. Tennessee courts, in recent decisions, have adopted the view that it is not, under Tennessee law, an exception. Consent is still an exception. But an encounter is not always consensual just because an officer may be legitimately acting in community care taking capacity. In the recent case of State v. Shouse, M2013-00863-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-21-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling excluding evidence of a DUI offense where the evidence was discovered by a police officer checking on the welfare of motorist who appeared to be unconscious inside a truck.

Community Care Taking Not a Substitute for a Warrant in Tennessee

Another 'community care taking' case has recently been addressed by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. 'Community care taking' generally refers to the role of law enforcement authorities in checking on the welfare of people who may be distressed. In many jurisdictions, it is one of the recognized exceptions to the general requirement that a police officer must have a warrant to conduct a search or seizure. Tennessee courts, in recent decisions, have adopted the view that it is not, under Tennessee law, an exception. Consent is still an exception. But an encounter is not always consensual just because an officer may be legitimately acting in community care taking capacity. In the recent case of State v. Shouse, M2013-00863-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-21-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling excluding evidence of a DUI offense where the evidence was discovered by a police officer checking on the welfare of motorist who appeared to be unconscious inside a truck.

Court Rejects Community Care Taking Argument and Excludes Evidence

'Community care taking' is a form of consensual encounter with a law enforcement officer who may initiate the encounter in looking out for public safety and welfare. When a community care taking encounter is considered consensual, it does not a require a warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. Yet legal disputes about the nature of the encounter may arise. Tennessee courts use an objective standard to consider whether the encounter was consensual or a seizure. In the recent case of State v. Mustafa, E2013-00960-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-7-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling suppressing evidence of DUI, on the conclusion that the Defendant reasonably felt seized, even though the police officer's subjective intent was to be helpful.

Court Rejects Community Care Taking Argument and Excludes Evidence

'Community care taking' is a form of consensual encounter with a law enforcement officer who may initiate the encounter in looking out for public safety and welfare. When a community care taking encounter is considered consensual, it does not a require a warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. Yet legal disputes about the nature of the encounter may arise. Tennessee courts use an objective standard to consider whether the encounter was consensual or a seizure. In the recent case of State v. Mustafa, E2013-00960-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-7-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling suppressing evidence of DUI, on the conclusion that the Defendant reasonably felt seized, even though the police officer's subjective intent was to be helpful.

Court Rejects Community Care Taking Argument and Excludes Evidence

'Community care taking' is a form of consensual encounter with a law enforcement officer who may initiate the encounter in looking out for public safety and welfare. When a community care taking encounter is considered consensual, it does not a require a warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. Yet legal disputes about the nature of the encounter may arise. Tennessee courts use an objective standard to consider whether the encounter was consensual or a seizure. In the recent case of State v. Mustafa, E2013-00960-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 4-7-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling suppressing evidence of DUI, on the conclusion that the Defendant reasonably felt seized, even though the police officer's subjective intent was to be helpful.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

Community Care Taking Encounter is Objectively Reasonable

Community care taking is one of the functions of law enforcement. A police officer performing a community care taking function needs no additional objective justification (reasonable suspicion or probable cause) for an encounter with members of the public. Community care taking encounters are considered consensual. A police officer may approach a car parked in public and ask for driver identification and proof of registration without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. A police officer may also check on a distressed driver. In the recent case of State v. Lowe, M2012-01741-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-5-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found it reasonable for a police officer to open the door of a vehicle to check on a possibly distressed driver.

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