United States v. Cooks

During a four-hour standoff at Birmingham, Ala. home, officers hear a power drill, are told by a hostage that the hostage taker is “doing something in a hole in the floor.” Police lay siege, find a piece of plywood hastily screwed to the floor. Prying it up, they find 31 firearms in the crawlspace, leading the hostage taker to be charged as a felon in possession. A Fourth Amendment violation? Eleventh Circuit: For all the cops knew, there was another hostage down there, so the search was a reasonable response to exigent circumstances. Dissent: Could there have been a hostage down there? Yes. Did the cops have probable cause to believe that? No.

Tags: 2019, Eleventh Circuit, Firearms, Fourth Amendment, Police, Searches and Seizures

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