Quinlan Law Enforcement: Pop Quiz August 14, 2008

From: Quinlan Law Enforcement E-News Alert, August 14, 2008

“Peals was arrested in his garage by a number of Terre Haute, Indiana police officers from the Street Crimes Unit, a unit used to perform special tasks including high-risk arrests, narcotics arrests, and narcotics information gathering. Among these officers were two K-9 units. The police officers had a warrant for Peals arrest, but they did not possess a search warrant for the home. After the officers took Peals into custody, several of the officers and K-9 units looked around the garage. Did the search of the garage violate Peals’s constitutional rights?”


“No. Under the rules regarding a protective sweep, the police could, incident to arrest and as a precautionary measure without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, look in closets and other spaces immediately adjoining the place of arrest from which an attack could be immediately launched. Here, the officers visually inspected the area in which Peals was arrested and entered an immediately adjoining space in which other persons could have been located and from which they could have launched an attack. Importantly, Peals did not allege that any officer opened or otherwise manipulated anything in the garage or house, or that the limited search extended beyond a brief visual inspection of the areas immediately adjoining the garage where he was arrested. In addition, the presence of the K-9 units did not affect the legality of the search. As a general rule, K-9 units trained to protect officers and apprehend suspects could accompany police officers, and K-9 units trained to detect contraband did not conduct a search when they sniffed in an area where they were lawfully present. Here, the officers and K-9 units were lawfully present in Peals’s garage, and there was no indication the dogs were trained for something other than protecting officers or detecting contraband. Consequently, the search was lawful.”

Citation: Peals v. Terre Haute Police Dept., 2008 WL 2854149 (7th Cir. 2008)

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