Community Caretaking exception allowed for warrantless entry into a home to search for a firearm.
The daughter of the girlfriend of Sanders called police to report a domestic disturbance between her mother and her mother’s boyfriend (Sanders). Once the officers arrived at the scene, they learned further details that gave them serious concern for the safety of the girlfriend and the children who were inside the house, including a firearm inside the house. They entered the house without a warrant and found the firearm. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of a firearm. The court held that the officers acted in their community caretaking function when they entered the home. The court also held that the scope of the encounter was carefully tailored to satisfy the officers’ purpose for entry. Furthermore, a warrant was not needed to search areas that may conceal the gun, because the daughter told officers that the defendant had a gun. Therefore, the officer had an objectively reasonable belief that a gun was inside the house.
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