Watson v. Pearson

Tennessee police show up at house to serve a civil levy. The target of the levy exits the house, claims he doesn’t live there and that he has no keys to get back in. Police let him leave (after taking his pocket change in partial satisfaction of the levy), but then circle the house looking for other property that could be taken. Uh oh! They smell marijuana and see what they believe to be partially smoked joints. They get a search warrant, come back, and discover a load of marijuana in the house. Sixth Circuit (over a dissent): No qualified immunity for the police, who should have known they couldn’t search the curtilage (immediate surroundings) of the house without a warrant.

Tags: 2019, Marijuana, Police, Qualified Immunity, Search Warrants, Searches and Seizures, Sixth Circuit

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