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The applicant of the case is Theodore Payton versus New York, Obie Riddick, and Applicant versus New York.


A New York Criminal Lawyer said the appeals for this case are arguing whether or not the statutes of New York State law in regard to entry of a person’s home without a warrant are constitutional.

In each of the appeals that are being presented police officers, who did not have warrants, but acted with probable cause entered the home of the appellant in order to arrest the appellant on a felony charge. The police officers did not receive permission from the appellant or any other occupant of the home to enter the residence. In both cases the trial judge in New York upheld that the entry without a warrant was authorized by the statutes in New York Law and refused the right to suppress any evidence that was taken during the entry. Both cases were treated as routine arrests with enough time to attain a warrant and the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of both appellants in the matter.

Legal Considerations

In the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, it is prohibited for a police officer to enter a home without a warrant to make a felony arrest. A Nassau Family Lawyer said that physically entering a home is the main evil against the Fourth Amendment as it involves the invasion of the home’s sanctity, which is too considerable to allow without issuing a warrant. This is true even when there is probable cause and is permitted under statutory authority.

The wording of the Fourth Amendment is clear about arrests in public places, but not as clear for arrests in private residences. However, the wording in effect requires a warrant in order for an arrest to be made inside a home, unless there is a substantial amount of risk involved.

Original Case

After two days of investigation, on the 14th of January in 1970, detectives from New York had assembled enough evidence to determine probable cause that Theodore Payton was the murderer involving the manager of a local gas station that had occurred two days previously. On the 15th of January, six officers went to Payton’s apartment located in the Bronx with the intent to arrest him. A Queens Family Lawyer said the officers did not have a warrant.

When the officers arrived at the apartment there were lights and music on. However, no one responded to their knocks on the door. The officers summoned for assistance and then used crowbars to open the door. The officers then and entered the home. No one was in the apartment, but there was a shell casing from a 30 caliber. This was taken and later used in the murder trial of Payton.

Payton eventually surrendered and was accused of murder. He moved to restrain the evidence that was removed from his home. A New York Family Lawyer said the trial judge stated that the entry without a warrant was allowed under the New York Code for Criminal Procedures and allowed the gun to be used as evidence in the trial.

Case Results

In review of other cases in such matters where a warrantless entry was made, 5 out of 7 other courts have determined that the entry and arrests were unconstitutional. After reviewing the evidence in this case we find that the entry into Payton’s home was unlawful and the evidence acquired from this entry should not have been used in the trial.

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