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IAMWRITER
09-20-2012, 12:00 AM
Hi guys. Currently powering my way through my WIP and I have a quick question.

My MC (NYPD Detective) heads to Virginia. She enters a suspect's house (door unlocked, so not forcing way in, I assume) to comprehend a murder suspect which she has strong evidence on but no warrant whatsoever.

Ultimately what repercussions would there be? I'm guessing there will be for not acting with a warrant and having no jurisdiction in a different state. Suspenstion? Warning?

As always, any help is much appreciated.

ironmikezero
09-20-2012, 12:23 AM
No warrant = no entry, absent an invitation from someone with care/custody/control of the premises or extenuating circumstances (e.g., hot pursuit, etc.) - unlocked doors notwithstanding.

Different jurisdictions will have different statutory language, but generically speaking that's pretty much the essence of the law.

Repercussions can run the gamut from administrative personnel action to arrest/prosecution. It'll depend upon the agencies involved - and then there's always potential civil liability.

WeaselFire
09-20-2012, 12:27 AM
Exigent circumstances?

In general, if there's a reasonable possibility of the suspect getting away while a warrant is processed, police can enter without a warrant and detain the suspect. The classic example is a fleeing suspect who runs into a third party's home. You don't need the permission of that third party or a warrant to enter.

Consequences are that the eventual arrest and/or evidence found could be tossed.

Any out-of-jurisdiction issues are extremely rare, compared to TV and the movies. An officer has the right to pursue out of jurisdiction, although a courtesy call and request for backup would be smart. It wouldn't be unusual for an unknown individual with a weapon trying to kidnap someone to get shot.

Of course, if the officer even thinks there might be time to obtain a warrant, the question is moot. Write in a reason for her to believe that the suspect is preparing to flee. And make the evidence that points to the suspect compelling.

Jeff

IAMWRITER
09-20-2012, 12:32 AM
^ To those above, my MC is going to effectively walk into the house to deal with him and doesn't want anyone else involved other than herself (shes a badass lol).

Does it make any difference if the suspect is not going to flee?

frimble3
09-20-2012, 12:40 AM
If he's not going to flee because he's waiting for his lawyer to take him to turn himself in, and she bursts in there hollering and carrying on like she's breaking up a murder-in-progress, she looks like an idiot.
If he's not going to flee because he intends to fight to the death, and die where he stands, she looks like an idiot for not getting backup.
If he's not going to flee because he's actually innocent, and doesn't realise the cops are coming, well, what's the rush? Get a warrant.

IAMWRITER
09-20-2012, 12:44 AM
^Basically its part of my story about why she goes - ie. the guy is her deranged ex.

ironmikezero
09-20-2012, 12:44 AM
Why not have your MC go to the house with the expressed intention to conduct an interview? Once invited inside, she's legally there - and you can escalate the circumstances of the scene as your story demands.

{Jeff, you're right, of course... I find that I often have to explain the term exigent as we understand it to folks not on the job. So, I often use the more common synonym - it rarely requires further explanation.}

IAMWRITER
09-20-2012, 12:47 AM
^Good idea but it won't really work as the guy had hired a hitman to kill her, so the chances of him letting anyone in is pretty slim as she knows about the whole hitman thing but hasn't told anyone.

WeaselFire
09-20-2012, 12:49 AM
^Basically its part of my story about why she goes - ie. the guy is her deranged ex.
The defense lawyer will tear her apart. :)

That kind of relationship with a suspect is what you find in movies and books, not reality. Since this takes it outside of reality enough that it wouldn't happen (or she wouldn't ever be employable...), why not write it as her just doing what she intends. She won't worry about repercussions at that stage, and maybe the reader won't either.

They don't care when watching TV, movies or many other books.

Jeff

John342
09-20-2012, 09:00 AM
Hi guys. Currently powering my way through my WIP and I have a quick question.

My MC (NYPD Detective) heads to Virginia. She enters a suspect's house (door unlocked, so not forcing way in, I assume) to comprehend a murder suspect which she has strong evidence on but no warrant whatsoever.

Ultimately what repercussions would there be? I'm guessing there will be for not acting with a warrant and having no jurisdiction in a different state. Suspenstion? Warning?

As always, any help is much appreciated.

Sorry if I'm late to the party here. I'm not sure what the detective did inside the house. Your question is what if they went in and poked around without a warrant? Did anyone see them? Did they find something?

If you go to someone's house you have a reason to talk to (even in another state) and upon knocking and receiving no answer you find the door open, you aren't required to not go in. The rule is "What would a reasonable person do?"

The safe play would be to call the locals and when they show say, "We're here checking on a person of interest in a homicide and we find the door open. We've rang the doorbell, called inside, but have had no response. At this point we're genuinely worried for the person we came to see" As WeaselFire suggested, that's called Exigent Circumstances (though for a different reason). They would probably then check the residence and perhaps invite you along (if you're the police.) The locals aren't going to worry about what state you are from, as long as they can verify you're the police.

During the "check for well being" anything that's in "Plain View" and obviously contraband would be seizable on the spot. Anything that you see that is evidence in your case but not illegal persee you can't grab... but the courts don't require you to close your eyes. After you finish your check, you then go type up a search warrant listing the stuff you saw and get a judge to sign it, and then you can legally execute a search. Of course you have to "hold" the location and keep people out until you get the warrant to make sure you find what you saw there when you execute the warrant.

So as far as repercussions, I'm not sure you said anything that would require repercussions. Now if they seized evidence without a warrant and a legal reason to be in the place they found it, the major repercussion might very well be that the evidence would be inadmissible, which might loose the case. Their dept would be none too happy, but I doubt it would amount to more than a scolding...unless this was a high profile case and their actions botched it. Then probably a transfer to patrol... midnights.

Rule of thumb here, in a homicide a dept is generally not going to officially discipline investigators for not following procedures in evidence collection or suspect interviews unless the case get's lost. If they do otherwise, and the defense finds out, then they have an easy challenge to both the investigator's credibility on the stand and anything (evidence, statements) that was gained during the misconduct.

Lastly... not sure what the word comprehend means there.

There is a lot of case law on these type cases. Every defense attorney wants to get their client off and getting evidence ruled inadmissible is a great way of doing that.

Let me know if I can help further,

John

John342
09-20-2012, 09:21 AM
^Basically its part of my story about why she goes - ie. the guy is her deranged ex.


Sorry, didn't see this before I went into the long diatribe above.

I know you are writing fiction, and, like Wednesday's at the Mickey Mouse Club, anything can happen in fiction, I have to say your detective is leaving reasonable for parts known as irrational.

- No dept is going to authorize her to work a case where her ex is the main suspect. Anything she does is going to be colored by the defense as a vendetta or other "fill in the blank" revenge.

- If she fails to report that the suspect is her ex, then she is willfully obstructing a police investigation: a criminal offense.

- If she goes to Virginia after being told she's off the case, or failing to tell her superiors that the guy's her ex, then she's operating "Outside the scope of her employment" and as such has no police powers and personally liable for anything that happens.

In reality, I see whatever comes of her trip to pretty much sabotage the case. In fiction, you are going to have to have something bulletproof to tie him to the murder. There is a theory in cases where evidence is being ruled on as whether it's admissible or not called, "Inevitable discovery" (I think that's the title) the theory goes that evidence is admissible if it would have inevitable would have been discovered even though it was done so illegally at the time. Think body in house would eventually be discovered by day nurse (who comes every day at 8 AM). Even though detective walked in without warrant at 11PM the previous evening.

As far as repercussions go, my gut says they'd suspend her indefinitely. Hoping to solve the case without her screwing it up. If the case doesn't get solved in a few weeks, she's on the desk or in patrol. Rather than dock her pay, they'd probably send her to a shrink. This is all so they can say she was not acting rationally and certainly not under their direction.

Now, please don't think I'm throwing cold water on this. It sounds interesting. But, for me, your female detective has to play this smart.

Again, let me know if I can help further.

John

Drachen Jager
09-20-2012, 10:36 AM
My MC (NYPD Detective) heads to Virginia. She enters a suspect's house (door unlocked, so not forcing way in, I assume) to comprehend a murder suspect which she has strong evidence on but no warrant whatsoever.

I believe you mean apprehend.

Comprehend is to understand fully, apprehend is to bring into custody.

Buffysquirrel
09-20-2012, 04:55 PM
They don't care when watching TV, movies or many other books.

You should come watch round our house....

jclarkdawe
09-20-2012, 05:13 PM
NYPD has one of the toughest Internal Affairs departments among police departments. They're gun shy and paranoid. And they have no compunction about kicking someone off the force.

Rogue cops are a prosecutor's nightmare and a defense attorney's dream. As defense counsel, all I have to find is one jury member that hates cops to get a hung jury. A cop that screws up is an easy target in the courtroom. Hell, it can get nasty enough for a police officer who's doing his/her job right in the courtroom. I've gotten cops so upset/nervous/whatever that they can't do a simple field soberiety test. Your officer is going to sink a prosecutor's case.


Sorry, didn't see this before I went into the long diatribe above.

I know you are writing fiction, and, like Wednesday's at the Mickey Mouse Club, anything can happen in fiction, I have to say your detective is leaving reasonable for parts known as irrational. Yep. And overstepping in a way that ticks off people. Police have to act within the rules, or people on the jury become concerned about a police state.

- No dept is going to authorize her to work a case where her ex is the main suspect. Anything she does is going to be colored by the defense as a vendetta or other "fill in the blank" revenge. And this applies to any officer who knows about her and her ex. NYPD would transfer this case to another division once this became known. She would have no more knowledge of the case then what she can get from the newspapers. If there's any possibility she knew more then she was supposed to, or in any possible way interfered with the investigation, I'd be calling her as the first defense witness. Police departments have been bitten by this enough that they know how to avoid it, unless they're having an attack of the stupids.

- If she fails to report that the suspect is her ex, then she is willfully obstructing a police investigation: a criminal offense. And if her boss failed to report this to his boss, he'd be facing a reprimand, at a minimum.

- If she goes to Virginia after being told she's off the case, or failing to tell her superiors that the guy's her ex, then she's operating "Outside the scope of her employment" and as such has no police powers and personally liable for anything that happens. Yep. It's one thing when an officer goes maybe a two hour drive outside their jurisdiction. It's another matter when an officer goes several hours outside their jurisdiction. You need to let your boss know where you are, or you're working in your off-duty time. That gets you quickly into "outside the scope of her employment." If her boss knows she's going to Virginia to investigate something, he's going to expect her to check in with the locals, and throttle back on any aggressive tendencies. If she has a warrant, she's going to have local backup. If she doesn't have a warrant, even if the door pops open, unless she has something very definite to justify going in, she calls the local police to come over to assist.

In reality, I see whatever comes of her trip to pretty much sabotage the case. Yep. In fiction, you are going to have to have something bulletproof to tie him to the murder. There is a theory in cases where evidence is being ruled on as whether it's admissible or not called, "Inevitable discovery" (I think that's the title) the theory goes that evidence is admissible if it would have inevitable would have been discovered even though it was done so illegally at the time. Think body in house would eventually be discovered by day nurse (who comes every day at 8 AM). Even though detective walked in without warrant at 11PM the previous evening. Inevitable discovery is complex, especially when you start tracking down the various activities that result from the discovery. For example, if the police discover evidence at 11 PM without warrant that they would have discovered at 8 AM in the natural order of things, and then have a warrant based upon that discovery that they execute at 3 AM to discover a truck being loaded with stolen goods, that search can be thrown out and the results from it because the truck with the stolen goods would have been gone at 8 AM, meaning that the warrant is tainted from the time of the discovery that was done illegally.

As far as repercussions go, my gut says they'd suspend her indefinitely. Hoping to solve the case without her screwing it up. If the case doesn't get solved in a few weeks, she's on the desk or in patrol. Rather than dock her pay, they'd probably send her to a shrink. This is all so they can say she was not acting rationally and certainly not under their direction. With NYPD, my guess is they fire her.

Now, please don't think I'm throwing cold water on this. It sounds interesting. But, for me, your female detective has to play this smart. Yep.

Again, let me know if I can help further.

John

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

IAMWRITER
09-20-2012, 07:19 PM
I believe you mean apprehend.

Comprehend is to understand fully, apprehend is to bring into custody.


Ack well...they sound similar.

Thank you all for the responses. Very helpful