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Current Pending Legal Issue: Lange v. California

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Introduction

This case is scheduled for argument before the United States Supreme Court during the October 2020-2021 term. It came on a writ of certiorari to the California First District Court of Appeal. Lange v. California concerns violation against the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searched or seizures from the U.S. Government. However, it does not entirely guarantee protection against all searches and seizures. The U.S. government can search unreasonable persons under the law.

The Case

Arthur Lange was driving home in Sonoma, California on the highway. Aaron Weikert, a California highway patrol officer, pursued Lange with the intention of conducting a traffic stop. Weikert proceeded to follow Lange home and turned on his overhead lights on once Lange pulled in his home’s driveway. As Lange pulled into the garage and the door began to close behind him, Weikert stopped the closing door with his foot. Weikert asked Lange if he knew he was following him. Lange stated he did not know. Weikert stated that he smelled alcohol on Lange’s breath and charged him for driving under the influence.

At trial, Lange claimed that Weirkert’s entry into Lange’s home violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution since Weikert had no warrant to enter Lange’s property. Lange moved to suppress a video recording of the incident. The Trial Court included that the officer had a probably cause, denied the motion to suppress, and issued a conviction for Lange. Later, the civil court ruled that Lange’s arrest was unlawful and an appellate court ruled that the arrest was in fact lawful. On the appeal to the California First District Court of Appeal, the court affirmed the conviction.

The Issue

“Whether the pursuit of a person whom a police officer has a probable cause to believe has committed a misdemeanor qualifies as a pressing circumstance sufficient to all the officer to enter a home without a warrant”

The Outcome

The appeal is pending adjudication before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Resources

“Lange v. California.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Lange_v._California.

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