A police informant’s disobedience that led to him overdosing on drugs created an exigent circumstance that required police to enter a suspected drug dealer's home without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment
United States v. Belser, 2016 BL 384771, E.D. Mich., No. 16-20572, 11/18/16.
A U.S. District Court in Michigan found that police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by entering a home without a warrant because their informant’s drug overdose was not a fabricated exigent circumstance. The police were conducting a sting of a local heroin dealer using an undercover informant who disobeyed orders during the operation by ingesting some of the purchased drugs. After hearing strange breathing sounds and the dealer attempting to revive the informant through the radio, the police entered the home, called for medics, and arrested the dealer.
The court held that the exigent circumstances that led to the police’s entry of the home did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was a true medical emergency. The defendant argued that the police contributed to the emergency by disregarding the unreliable character of the informant, claiming that the decision to use the informant was the proximate cause of the exigency. The court rejected this argument, stating, “proximate cause is not the test to determine if the police created the exigency.” The officers met their Fourth Amendment requirements by taking the lawful steps necessary before entry, making the subsequent arrest and seizure of drugs lawful.