This is a good case for a review of implied consent while in custody. Police watch a suspect (Sallis) with outstanding warrants come and go from an apartment that was not his residence (it was his girlfriend’s apartment where she lived with her small children). They arrested Sallis after he entered a vehicle outside the apartment. At the same time, they were obtaining a warrant based on the fact a gunshot victim had identified Sallis as the shooter. After arresting Sallis, officers went to the apartment door and knocked but no one answered. An officer turned the knob and the door opened and the officer saw a small child and then another child come into the hallway. Thy conducted a sweep of the apartment and found no adults in the apartment. Shortly thereafter, the mother of the children entered. They asked her for permission to search the apartment and she indicated she wanted to talk to Sallis. Officers took her to him and he told her to get his bag and give it to the officers. She did and the officers found marijuana in the bag. They then executed the warrant, which had been obtained and found more drugs and a 9mm and ammunition.
Sallis sought to exclude the contents of the bag as a result of the officers unlawfully entering the house. The government argued that the entry was lawful and pursuant to consent and even if it wasn’t, the inevitable discovery doctrine should prevent the evidence from being excluded because they would have found it with the warrant that was obtained. The District Court held that the community caretaker doctrine applied to allow the officers in the house and Sallis appealed. The Eighth Circuit held that since it was Sallis’s consent that that led to the discovery of the marijuana, and nothing was gained in the investigation by the officer’s entry into the apartment, the only issue is whether Sallis consented to officers searching the bag. The court held that Sallis gave implied consent to search the bag when he told his girlfriend to go get his bag out of her apartment and give it to the officers.
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