Judge Joseph M. Hood found that police officers could arrest a woman for obstruction because she did not open the door when police came to arrest her brother (who was present in the house).
When law enforcement officers who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door, they do no more than any private citizen might do. And whether the person who knocks on the door and requests the opportunity to speak is a police officer or a private citizen, the occupant has no obligation to open the door or to speak. Cf. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 497-498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983). (“[H]e may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way”). When the police knock on a door but the occupants choose not to respond or to speak, “the investigation will have reached a conspicuously low point” . . .
This seems fundamentally inconsistent with Judge Hood’s opinion in Baughman v. Brooks, Dist. Court, ED Kentucky 2016.
Comment: Police officers must listen and investigate when a suspect says that the handcuffs are too tight — Honeycutt’s department is learning this lesson the hard way.
Comment: Time to retire that dog and get an accurate one.
What happened: Man had a history of domestic violence, so police decide to do a “welfare check” at his house at 10:54 pm. The man answered the door with his gun and was angry when he saw it was police. Man would not put down his gun and physically tried to keep police out of his house, so they shot him dead.
Decision: Eleventh Circuit, three judge appellate panel (ED CARNES, Chief Judge, WILSON and ROSENBAUM, Circuit Judges) decided that this was reasonable and acceptable police behavior under 4A.
Comment: Since when do you have to let police in your house on a welfare check? Wrongly decided. Hope case gets a SCOTUS cert. grant. This case really deserved more public attention than it seemed to get.
Second comment: I remember when this was decided (in the same way) by the District Court, whose opinion had a much more detailed recounting of the facts. Too lazy to find a link to that, but I remember thinking that this one would get reversed if it were appealed. Guess not.