MR. JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
These appeals challenge the constitutionality of New York statutes that authorize police officers to enter a private residence without a warrant and with force, if necessary, to make a routine felony arrest.
The important constitutional question presented by this challenge has been expressly left open in a number of our prior opinions. In United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, we upheld a warrantless "midday public arrest," expressly noting that the case did not pose "the still unsettled question
We first state the facts of both cases in some detail and put to one side certain related questions that are not presented by these records. We then explain why the New York statutes are not consistent with the Fourth Amendment and why the reasons for upholding warrantless arrests in a public place do not apply to warrantless invasions of the privacy of the home.
On January 14, 1970, after two days of intensive investigation, New York detectives had assembled evidence sufficient to establish probable cause to believe that Theodore Payton had murdered the manager of a gas station two days earlier. At about 7:30 a. m. on January 15, six officers went to Payton's apartment in the Bronx, intending to arrest him. They had not obtained a warrant. Although light and music emanated from the apartment, there was no response to their knock on the metal door. They summoned emergency assistance and, about 30 minutes later, used crowbars to break open the door and enter the apartment. No one was there. In plain view, however, was a .30-caliber shell casing that was
In due course Payton surrendered to the police, was indicted for murder, and moved to suppress the evidence taken from his apartment. The trial judge held that the warrantless and forcible entry was authorized by the New York Code of Criminal Procedure,
On March 14, 1974, Obie Riddick was arrested for the commission of two armed robberies that had occurred in 1971. He had been identified by the victims in June 1973, and in January 1974 the police had learned his address. They did not obtain a warrant for his arrest. At about noon on March 14, a detective, accompanied by three other officers, knocked on the door of the Queens house where Riddick was living. When his young son opened the door, they could see Riddick sitting in bed covered by a sheet. They entered the house and placed him under arrest. Before permitting him to dress, they opened a chest of drawers two feet from the bed in search of weapons and found narcotics and related paraphernalia. Riddick was subsequently indicted on narcotics charges. At a suppression hearing, the trial judge held that the warrantless entry into his home was authorized by the revised New York statute,
The New York Court of Appeals, in a single opinion, affirmed the convictions of both Payton and Riddick. 45 N.Y.2d 300, 380 N.E.2d 224 (1978). The court recognized that the question whether and under what circumstances an officer may enter a suspect's home to make a warrantless arrest had not been settled either by that court or by this Court.
Three members of the New York Court of Appeals dissented on this issue because they believed that the Constitution requires the police to obtain a "warrant to enter a home in order to arrest or seize a person, unless there are exigent circumstances."
Before addressing the narrow question presented by these appeals,
Nor do these cases raise any question concerning the authority of the police, without either a search or arrest warrant, to enter a third party's home to arrest a suspect. The police broke into Payton's apartment intending to arrest Payton, and they arrested Riddick in his own dwelling. We also note that in neither case is it argued that the police lacked probable cause to believe that the suspect was at home when they entered. Finally, in both cases we are dealing with entries into homes made without the consent of any occupant. In Payton, the police used crowbars to break down the door and in Riddick, although his 3-year-old son answered the door; the police entered before Riddick had an opportunity either to object or to consent.
It is familiar history that indiscriminate searches and seizures conducted under the authority of "general warrants" were the immediate evils that motivated the framing and adoption of the Fourth Amendment.
It is thus perfectly clear that the evil the Amendment was designed to prevent was broader than the abuse of a general warrant. Unreasonable searches or seizures conducted without any warrant at all are condemned by the plain language of the first clause of the Amendment. Almost a century ago the Court stated in resounding terms that the principles reflected in the Amendment "reached farther than the concrete form" of the specific cases that gave it birth, and "apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life." Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630. Without pausing to consider whether that broad language may require some qualification, it is sufficient to note that the warrantless arrest of a person is a species of seizure required by the Amendment to be reasonable. Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89. Cf. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648. Indeed, as MR. JUSTICE POWELL noted in his concurrence in United States v. Watson, the arrest of a person is "quintessentially a seizure." 423 U. S., at 428.
The simple language of the Amendment applies equally to seizures of persons and to seizures of property. Our analysis in this case may therefore properly commence with rules that have been well established in Fourth Amendment litigation involving tangible items. As the Court reiterated just a few years ago, the "physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed." United States v. United States District Court,
It is a "basic principle of Fourth Amendment law" that searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.
As the late Judge Leventhal recognized, this distinction has equal force when the seizure of a person is involved. Writing on the constitutional issue now before us for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sitting en banc, Dorman v. United States, 140 U. S. App. D. C. 313, 435 F.2d 385 (1970), Judge Leventhal first noted the settled rule that warrantless arrests in public places are valid. He immediately recognized, however, that
His analysis of this question then focused on the long-settled premise that, absent exigent circumstances, a warrantless
This reasoning has been followed in other Circuits.
We find this reasoning to be persuasive and in accord with this Court's Fourth Amendment decisions.
The majority of the New York Court of Appeals, however, suggested that there is a substantial difference in the relative intrusiveness of an entry to search for property and an entry to search for a person. See n. 13, supra. It is true that the area that may legally be searched is broader when executing a search warrant than when executing an arrest warrant in the home. See Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752. This difference may be more theoretical than real, however, because the police may need to check the entire premises for safety reasons, and sometimes they ignore the restrictions on searches incident to arrest.
But the critical point is that any differences in the intrusiveness of entries to search and entries to arrest are merely ones of degree rather than kind. The two intrusions share this fundamental characteristic: the breach of the entrance to an individual's home. The Fourth Amendment protects the individual's privacy in a variety of settings. In none is the zone of privacy more clearly defined than when bounded by the unambiguous physical dimensions of an individual's home—a zone that finds its roots in clear and specific constitutional terms: "The right of the people to be secure in their . . . houses . . . shall not be violated." That language unequivocally establishes the proposition that "[a]t the very
Without contending that United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, decided the question presented by these appeals, New York argues that the reasons that support the Watson holding require a similar result here. In Watson the Court relied on (a) the well-settled common-law rule that a warrantless arrest in a public place is valid if the arresting officer had probable cause to believe the suspect is a felon;
An examination of the common-law understanding of an officer's authority to arrest sheds light on the obviously relevant, if not entirely dispositive,
A study of the common law on the question whether a constable had the authority to make warrantless arrests in the home on mere suspicion of a felony—as distinguished from an officer's right to arrest for a crime committed in his presence— reveals a surprising lack of judicial decisions and a deep divergence among scholars.
The most cited evidence of the common-law rule consists of an equivocal dictum in a case actually involving the sheriff's authority to enter a home to effect service of civil process. In Semayne's Case, 5 Co. Rep. 91a, 91b, 77 Eng. Rep. 194, 195-196 (K. B. 1603), the Court stated:
This passage has been read by some as describing an entry without a warrant. The context strongly implies, however, that the court was describing the extent of authority in executing the King's writ. This reading is confirmed by the phrase "either to arrest him, or to do other execution of the K.'s process" and by the further point that notice was necessary because the owner may "not know of the process." In any event, the passage surely cannot be said unambiguously to endorse warrantless entries.
The common-law commentators disagreed sharply on the subject.
Considering the diversity of views just described, however, it is clear that the statement was never deemed authoritative. Indeed, in Burdett, the statement was described as an "extra-judicial opinion." Ibid.
It is obvious that the common-law rule on warrantless home arrests was not as clear as the rule on arrests in public places. Indeed, particularly considering the prominence of Lord Coke, the weight of authority as it appeared to the Framers was to the effect that a warrant was required, or at the minimum that there were substantial risks in proceeding without one. The common-law sources display a sensitivity to privacy interests that could not have been lost on the Framers. The zealous and frequent repetition of the adage that a "man's house is his castle," made it abundantly clear that both in England
Thus, our study of the relevant common law does not provide the same guidance that was present in Watson. Whereas
A majority of the States that have taken a position on the question permit warrantless entry into the home to arrest even in the absence of exigent circumstances. At this time, 24 States permit such warrantless entries;
But these current figures reflect a significant decline during the last decade in the number of States permitting warrantless entries for arrest. Recent dicta in this Court raising questions about the practice, see n. 1, supra, and Federal Courts of Appeals' decisions on point, see n. 4, supra, have led state courts to focus on the issue. Virtually all of the state courts that have had to confront the constitutional issue directly have held warrantless entries into the home to arrest to be invalid in the absence of exigent circumstances. See nn. 2, 3, supra. Three state courts have relied on Fourth Amendment
A longstanding, widespread practice is not immune from constitutional scrutiny. But neither is it to be lightly brushed aside. This is particularly so when the constitutional standard is as amorphous as the word "reasonable," and when custom and contemporary norms necessarily play such a large role in the constitutional analysis. In this case, although the weight of state-law authority is clear, there is by no means the kind of virtual unanimity on this question that was present in United States v. Watson, with regard to warrantless arrests in public places. See 423 U. S., at 422-423. Only 24 of the 50 States currently sanction warrantless entries into the home to arrest, see nn. 46-48, supra, and there is an obvious declining trend. Further, the strength of the trend is greater than the numbers alone indicate. Seven state courts have recently held that warrantless home arrests violate their respective State Constitutions. See n. 3, supra. That is significant because by invoking a state constitutional provision, a state court immunizes its decision from review by this Court.
No congressional determination that warrantless entries into the home are "reasonable" has been called to our attention. None of the federal statutes cited in the Watson opinion reflects any such legislative judgment.
MR. JUSTICE POWELL, concurring in United States v. Watson, supra, at 429, stated:
In this case, however, neither history nor this Nation's experience requires us to disregard the overriding respect for the sanctity of the home that has been embedded in our traditions since the origins of the Republic.
The parties have argued at some length about the practical consequences of a warrant requirement as a precondition to a felony arrest in the home.
Finally, we note the State's suggestion that only a search warrant based on probable cause to believe the suspect is at home at a given time can adequately protect the privacy interests at stake, and since such a warrant requirement is manifestly impractical, there need be no warrant of any kind. We find this ingenious argument unpersuasive. It is true that an arrest warrant requirement may afford less protection than a search warrant requirement, but it will suffice to interpose the magistrate's determination of probable cause between the zealous officer and the citizen. If there is sufficient evidence of a citizen's participation in a felony to persuade a judicial officer that his arrest is justified, it is constitutionally reasonable
Because no arrest warrant was obtained in either of these cases, the judgments must be reversed and the cases remanded to the New York Court of Appeals for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, concurring.
I joined the Court's opinion in United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411 (1976), upholding, on probable cause, the warrantless arrest in a public place. I, of course, am still of the view that the decision in Watson is correct. The Court's balancing of the competing governmental and individual interests properly occasioned that result. Where, however, the warrantless arrest is in the suspect's home, that same balancing requires that, absent exigent circumstances, the result be the other way. The suspect's interest in the sanctity of his home then outweighs the governmental interests.
I therefore join the Court's opinion, firm in the conviction that the result in Watson and the result here, although opposite, are fully justified by history and by the Fourth Amendment.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST join, dissenting.
The Court today holds that absent exigent circumstances officers may never enter a home during the daytime to arrest for a dangerous felony unless they have first obtained a warrant. This hard-and-fast rule, founded on erroneous assumptions concerning the intrusiveness of home arrest entries,
As the Court notes, ante, at 591, the common law of searches and seizures, as evolved in England, as transported to the Colonies, and as developed among the States, is highly relevant to the present scope of the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, 418-422 (1976); id., at 425, 429 (POWELL, J., concurring); Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 111, 114 (1975); Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 149-153 (1925); Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529, 534-535 (1900); Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 622-630 (1886); Kurtz v. Moffitt, 115 U.S. 487, 498-499 (1885). Today's decision virtually ignores these centuries of common-law development, and distorts the historical meaning of the Fourth Amendment, by proclaiming for the first time a rigid warrant requirement for all nonexigent home arrest entries.
As early as the 15th century the common law had limited the Crown's power to invade a private dwelling in order to arrest. A Year Book case of 1455 held that in civil cases the sheriff could not break doors to arrest for debt or trespass, for the arrest was then only in the private interests of a party. Y. B. 13 Edw. IV, 9a. To the same effect is Semayne's Case, 5 Co. Rep. 91a, 77 Eng. Rep. 194 (K. B. 1603). The holdings of these cases were condensed in the maxim that "every man's house is his castle." H. Broom, Legal Maxims *321-*329.
However, this limitation on the Crown's power applied only to private civil actions. In cases directly involving the Crown, the rule was that "[t]he king's keys unlock all doors." Wilgus, Arrest Without a Warrant, 22 Mich. L. Rev. 798, 800 (1924). The Year Book case cited above stated a different rule for criminal cases: for a felony, or suspicion of felony, one may break into the dwelling house to take the felon, for
Although these cases established the Crown's power to enter a dwelling in criminal cases, they did not directly address the question of whether a constable could break doors to arrest without authorization by a warrant. At common law, the constable's office was twofold. As conservator of the peace, he possessed, virtute officii, a "great original and inherent authority with regard to arrests," 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *292 (hereinafter Blackstone), and could "without any other warrant but from [himself] arrest felons, and those that [were] probably suspected of felonies," 2 M. Hale, Pleas of the Crown 85 (1736) (hereinafter Hale); see United States v. Watson, supra, at 418-419. Second, as a subordinate public official, the constable performed ministerial tasks under the authorization and direction of superior officers. See 1 R. Burn, The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer 295 (6th ed. 1758) (hereinafter Burn); 2 W. Hawkins, Pleas of the Crown 130-132 (6th ed. 1787) (hereinafter Hawkins). It was in this capacity that the constable executed warrants issued by justices of the peace. The warrant authorized the constable to take action beyond his inherent powers.
As the Court notes, commentators have differed as to the scope of the constable's inherent authority, when not acting under a warrant, to break doors in order to arrest. Probably the majority of commentators would permit arrest entries on probable suspicion even if the person arrested were not in fact guilty. 4 Blackstone *292; 1 Burn 87-88;
A second school of thought, on which the Court relies, held that the constable could not break doors on mere "bare suspicion." M. Foster, Crown Law 321 (1762); 2 Hawkins 139; 1 E. East, Pleas of the Crown 321-322 (1806); 1 W. Russell, Treatise on Crimes and Misdemeanors 745 (1819) (hereinafter Russell). Cf. 4 E. Coke, Institutes *177. Although this doctrine
Finally, it bears nothing that the doctrine against home entries on bare suspicion developed in a period in which the validity of any arrest on bare suspicion—even one occurring outside the home—was open to question. Not until Lord Mansfield's decision in Samuel v. Payne, 1 Doug. 359, 99 Eng. Rep. 230 (K. B. 1780), was it definitively established that the constable could arrest on suspicion even if it turned out that no felony had been committed. To the extent that the commentators relied on by the Court reasoned from any general rule against warrantless arrests based on bare suspicion, the rationale for their position did not survive Samuel v. Payne.
The history of the Fourth Amendment does not support the rule announced today. At the time that Amendment was adopted the constable possessed broad inherent powers to arrest. The limitations on those powers derived, not from a warrant "requirement," but from the generally ministerial nature of the constable's office at common law. Far from restricting the constable's arrest power, the institution of the
In fact, it was the abusive use of the warrant power, rather than any excessive zeal in the discharge of peace officers' inherent authority, that precipitated the Fourth Amendment. That Amendment grew out of colonial opposition to the infamous general warrants known as writs of assistance, which empowered customs officers to search at will, and to break open receptacles or packages, wherever they suspected uncustomed goods to be. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1977); N. Lasson, The History and Development of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution 51-78 (1937) (hereinafter Lasson). The writs did not specify where searches could occur and they remained effective throughout the sovereign's lifetime. Id., at 54. In effect, the writs placed complete discretion in the hands of executing officials. Customs searches of this type were beyond the inherent power of common-law officials and were the subject of court suits when performed by colonial customs agents not acting pursuant to a writ. Id., at 55.
The common law was the colonists' ally in their struggle against writs of assistance. Hale and Blackstone had condemned general warrants, 1 Hale 580; 4 Blackstone *291, and fresh in the colonists' minds were decisions granting recovery to parties arrested or searched under general warrants on suspicion of seditious libel. Entick v. Carrington, 19 How. St. Tr. 1029, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (K. B. 1765); Huckle v. Money, 2 Wils. 205, 95 Eng. Rep. 768 (K. B. 1763); Wilkes v. Wood, 19 How. St. Tr. 1153, 98 Eng. Rep. 489 (K. B. 1763). When James Otis, Jr., delivered his courtroom oration against writs of assistance in 1761, he looked to the common law in asserting that the writs, if not construed specially, were void as a
Given the colonists' high regard for the common law, it is indeed unlikely that the Framers of the Fourth Amendment intended to derogate from the constable's inherent commonlaw authority. Such an argument was rejected in the important early case of Rohan v. Sawin, 59 Mass. 281, 284-285 (1851):
That the Fourth Amendment was directed towards safeguarding the rights at common law, and restricting the warrant practice which gave officers vast new powers beyond their inherent authority, is evident from the legislative history of that provision. As originally drafted by James Madison, it was directed only at warrants; so deeply ingrained was the basic common-law premise that it was not even expressed:
The present language was adopted virtually at the last moment by the Committee of Three, which had been appointed only to arrange the Amendments rather than to make substantive changes in them. Lasson 101. The Amendment passed the House; but "the House seems never to have consciously agreed to the Amendment in its present form." Ibid. In any event, because the sanctity of the common-law protections was assumed from the start, it is evident that the change made by the Committee of Three was a cautionary measure without substantive content.
In sum, the background, text, and legislative history of the Fourth Amendment demonstrate that the purpose was to restrict the abuses that had developed with respect to warrants; the Amendment preserved common-law rules of arrest. Because it was not considered generally unreasonable at common law for officers to break doors to effect a warrantless felony arrest, I do not believe that the Fourth Amendment was intended to outlaw the types of police conduct at issue in the present cases.
Probably because warrantless arrest entries were so firmly accepted at common law, there is apparently no recorded constitutional challenge to such entries in the 19th-century cases. Common-law authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, however, continued to endorse the validity of such arrests. E. g., 1 J. Bishop, Commentaries on the Law of Criminal Procedure §§ 195-199 (2d ed. 1872); 1 Chitty 23; 1 J. Colby, A Practical Treatise upon the Criminal Law and Practice of the State
Apparently the first official pronouncement on the validity of warrantless home arrests came with the adoption of state codes of criminal procedure in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. The great majority of these codes accepted and endorsed the inherent authority of peace officers to enter dwellings in order to arrest felons. By 1931, 24 of 29 state codes authorized such warrantless arrest entries.
The first direct judicial holding on the subject of warrantless home arrests seems to have been Commonwealth v. Phelps, 209 Mass. 396, 95 N. E. 868 (1911). The holding in this case that such entries were constitutional became the settled rule in the States for much of the rest of the century. See Wilgus, Arrest Without a Warrant, 22 Mich. L. Rev. 798, 803 (1924). Opinions of this Court also assumed that such arrests were constitutional.
Although Coolidge and Jones both referred to the special problem of warrantless entries during the nighttime,
This consensus, in the face of seemingly contrary dicta from this Court, is entitled to more deference than the Court today provides. Cf. United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411 (1976).
In the present cases, as in Watson, the applicable federal statutes are relevant to the reasonableness of the type of arrest in question. Under 18 U. S. C. § 3052, specified federal agents may "make arrests without warrants for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States, if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony." On its face this provision authorizes federal agents to make warrantless arrests anywhere, including the home. Particularly in light of the accepted rule at common law and among the States permitting warrantless home arrests, the absence of any explicit exception for the home from § 3052 is persuasive evidence that Congress intended to authorize warrantless arrests there a well as elsewhere.
Further, Congress has not been unaware of the special problems involved in police entries into the home. In 18 U. S. C. § 3109, it provided that
See Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301 (1958). In explicitly providing authority to enter when executing a search warrant, Congress surely did not intend to derogate from the officers' power to effect an arrest entry either with or without a warrant. Rather, Congress apparently assumed that this power was so firmly established either at common law or by statute that no explicit grant of arrest authority was required in § 3109. In short, although the Court purports to find no guidance in the relevant federal statutes, I believe that fairly read they authorize the type of police conduct at issue in these cases.
Today's decision rests, in large measure, on the premise that warrantless arrest entries constitute a particularly severe invasion of personal privacy. I do not dispute that the home is generally a very private area or that the common law displayed a special "reverence . . . for the individual's right of privacy in his house." Miller v. United States, supra, at 313. However, the Fourth Amendment is concerned with protecting people, not places, and no talismanic significance is given to the fact that an arrest occurs in the home rather than elsewhere. Cf. Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85 (1979); Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967); Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S., at 630. It is necessary in each case to assess realistically the actual extent of invasion of constitutionally protected privacy. Further, as MR. JUSTICE POWELL observed in United States v. Watson, supra, at 428 (concurring opinion), all arrests involve serious intrusions into an individual's privacy and dignity. Yet we settled in Watson that the intrusiveness of a public arrest is not enough to mandate the obtaining of a warrant. The inquiry in the present case, therefore, is whether the incremental
Today's decision ignores the carefully crafted restrictions on the common-law power of arrest entry and thereby overestimates the dangers inherent in that practice. At common law, absent exigent circumstances, entries to arrest could be made only for felony. Even in cases of felony, the officers were required to announce their presence, demand admission, and be refused entry before they were entitled to break doors.
These four restrictions on home arrests—felony, knock and announce, daytime, and stringent probable cause—constitute powerful and complementary protections for the privacy interests associated with the home. The felony requirement guards against abusive or arbitrary enforcement and ensures that invasions of the home occur only in case of the most
All of these limitations on warrantless arrest entries are satisfied on the facts of the present cases. The arrests here were for serious felonies—murder and armed robbery—and both occurred during daylight hours. The authorizing statutes required that the police announce their business and demand entry; neither Payton nor Riddick makes any contention that these statutory requirements were not fulfilled. And it is not argued that the police had no probable cause to believe that both Payton and Riddick were in their dwellings at the time of the entries. Today's decision, therefore, sweeps away any possibility that warrantless home entries might be permitted in some limited situations other than those in which
A rule permitting warrantless arrest entries would not pose a danger that officers would use their entry power as a pretext to justify an otherwise invalid warrantless search. A search pursuant to a warrantless arrest entry will rarely, if ever, be as complete as one under authority of a search warrant. If the suspect surrenders at the door, the officers may not enter other rooms. Of course, the suspect may flee or hide, or may not be at home, but the officers cannot anticipate the first two of these possibilities and the last is unlikely given the requirement of probable cause to believe that the suspect is at home. Even when officers are justified in searching other rooms, they may seize only items within the arrestee's possession or immediate control or items in plain view discovered during the course of a search reasonably directed at discovering a hiding suspect. Hence a warrantless home entry is likely to uncover far less evidence than a search conducted under authority of a search warrant. Furthermore, an arrest entry will inevitably tip off the suspects and likely result in destruction or removal of evidence not uncovered during the arrest. I therefore cannot believe that the police would take the risk of losing valuable evidence through a pretextual arrest entry rather than applying to a magistrate for a search warrant.
While exaggerating the invasion of personal privacy involved in home arrests, the Court fails to account for the danger that its rule will "severely hamper effective law enforcement," United States v. Watson, 423 U. S., at 431 (POWELL, J., concurring); Gerstein v. Pugh 420 U. S., at 113. The policeman
Further, police officers will often face the difficult task of deciding whether the circumstances are sufficiently exigent to justify their entry to arrest without a warrant. This is a decision that must be made quickly in the most trying of circumstances. If the officers mistakenly decide that the circumstances are exigent, the arrest will be invalid and any evidence seized incident to the arrest or in plain view will be excluded at trial. On the other hand, if the officers mistakenly determine that exigent circumstances are lacking, they may refrain from making the arrest, thus creating the possibility that a dangerous criminal will escape into the community. The police could reduce the likelihood of escape by staking out all possible exits until the circumstances become clearly exigent or a warrant is obtained. But the costs of such a stakeout seem excessive in an era of rising crime and scarce police resources.
The uncertainty inherent in the exigent-circumstances determination burdens the judicial system as well. In the case of searches, exigent circumstances are sufficiently unusual that this Court has determined that the benefits of a warrant outweigh the burdens imposed, including the burdens on the judicial system. In contrast, arrests recurringly involve exigent circumstances, and this Court has heretofore held that a warrant can be dispensed with without undue sacrifice in Fourth Amendment values. The situation should be no different
Our cases establish that the ultimate test under the Fourth Amendment is one of "reasonableness." Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 315-316 (1978); Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 539 (1967). I cannot join the Court in declaring unreasonable a practice which has been thought entirely reasonable by so many for so long. It would be far preferable to adopt a clear and simple rule: after knocking and announcing their presence, police may enter the home to make a daytime arrest without a warrant when there is probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested committed a felony and is present in the house. This rule would best comport with the common-law background, with the traditional practice in the States, and with the history and policies of the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.
MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, dissenting.
The Court today refers to both Payton and Riddick as involving "routine felony arrests." I have no reason to dispute the Court's characterization of these arrests, but cannot refrain from commenting on the social implications of the result reached by the Court. Payton was arrested for the murder of the manager of a gas station; Riddick was arrested for two armed robberies. If these are indeed "routine felony arrests," which culminated in convictions after trial upheld by the state courts on appeal, surely something is amiss in the process of the administration of criminal justice whereby these convictions are now set aside by this Court under the exclusionary rule which we have imposed upon the States under
I fully concur in and join the dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE WHITE. There is significant historical evidence that we have over the years misread the history of the Fourth Amendment in connection with searches, elevating the warrant requirement over the necessity for probable cause in a way which the Framers of that Amendment did not intend. See T. Taylor, Two Studies in Constitutional Interpretation 38-50 (1969). But one may accept all of that as stare decisis, and still feel deeply troubled by the transposition of these same errors into the area of actual arrests of felons within their houses with respect to whom there is probable cause to suspect guilt of the offense in question.
"MR. JACOBS: There's no question that the evidence that was found in bureau drawers and in the closet was illegally obtained. I'm perfectly willing to concede that, and I do so in my memorandum of law. There's no question about that." App. 4.
"`Case law has made exceptions from the statute or common-law rules for exigent circumstances which may allow dispensation with the notice . . . It has also been held or suggested that notice is not required if there is reason to believe that it will allow an escape or increase unreasonably the physical risk to the police or to innocent persons.' (People v. Floyd, 26 N.Y.2d 558, 562.)
"The facts of this matter indicate that a grave offense had been committed; that the suspect was reasonably believed to be armed and could be a danger to the community; that a clear showing of probable cause existed and that there was strong reason to believe that the suspect was in the premises being entered and that he would escape if not swiftly apprehended. From this fact the court finds that exigent circumstances existed to justify noncompliance with section 178. The court holds, therefore, that the entry into defendant's apartment was valid." Id, at 975, 376 N. Y. S. 2d, at 780-781.
"In order to effect such an arrest, a police officer may enter premises in which he reasonably believes such person to be present, under the same circumstances and in the same manner as would be authorized, by the provisions of subdivisions four and five of section 120.80, if he were attempting to make such arrest pursuant to a warrant of arrest."
Section 120.80, governing execution of arrest warrants, provides in relevant part:
"4. In order to effect the arrest, the police officer may, under circumstances and in a manner prescribed in this subdivision, enter any premises in which he reasonably believes the defendant to be present. Before such entry, he must give, or make reasonable effort to give, notice of his authority and purpose to an occupant thereof, unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the giving of such notice will:
"(a) Result in the defendant escaping or attempting to escape; or
"(b) Endanger the life or safety of the officer or another person; or
"(c) Result in the destruction, damaging or secretion of material evidence.
"5. If the officer is authorized to enter premises without giving notice of his authority and purpose, or if after giving such notice he is not admitted, he may enter such premises, and by a breaking if necessary."
"In the case of the search, unless appropriately limited by the terms of a warrant, the incursion on the householder's domain normally will be both more extensive and more intensive and the resulting invasion of his privacy of greater magnitude than what might be expected to occur on an entry made for the purpose of effecting his arrest. A search by its nature contemplates a possibly thorough rummaging through possessions, with concurrent upheaval of the owner's chosen or random placement of goods and articles and disclosure to the searchers of a myriad of personal items and details which he would expect to be free from scrutiny by uninvited eyes. The householder by the entry and search of his residence is stripped bare, in greater or lesser degree, of the privacy which normally surrounds him in his daily living, and, if he should be absent, to an extent of which he will be unaware.
"Entry for the purpose of arrest may be expected to be quite different. While the taking into custody of the person of the householder is unquestionably of grave import, there is no accompanying prying into the area of expected privacy attending his possessions and affairs. That personal seizure alone does not require a warrant was established by United States v. Watson (423 U.S. 411, supra), which upheld a warrantless arrest made in a public place. In view of the minimal intrusion on the elements of privacy of the home which results from entry on the premises for making an arrest (as compared with the gross intrusion which attends the arrest itself), we perceive no sufficient reason for distinguishing between an arrest in a public place and an arrest in a residence. To the extent that an arrest will always be distasteful or offensive, there is little reason to assume that arrest within the home is any more so than arrest in a public place; on the contrary, it may well be that because of the added exposure the latter may be more objectionable.
"At least as important, and perhaps even more so, in concluding that entries to make arrests are not `unreasonable'—the substantive test under the constitutional proscriptions—is the objective for which they are made, viz., the arrest of one reasonably believed to have committed a felony, with resultant protection to the community. The `reasonableness' of any governmental intrusion is to be judged from two perspectives—that of the defendant, considering the degree and scope of the invasion of his person or property; that of the People, weighing the objective and imperative of governmental action. The community's interest in the apprehension of criminal suspects is of a higher order than is its concern for the recovery of contraband or evidence; normally the hazards created by the failure to apprehend far exceed the risks which may follow nonrecovery." Id., at 310-311, 380 N. E. 2d, at 229.
"Nor do we ignore the fact that a number of jurisdictions other than our own have also enacted statutes authorizing warrantless entries of buildings (without exception for homes) for purposes of arrest. The American Law Institute's Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure makes similar provision in section 120.6, with suggested special restrictions only as to nighttime entries." Id., at 311-312, 380 N. E. 2d, at 229-230 (footnote omitted).
See also J. Landynski, Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court 19-48 (1966); N. Lasson, The History and Development of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution 13-78 (1937); T. Taylor, Two Studies in Constitutional Interpretation 19-44 (1969).
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime. Any assumption that evidence sufficient to support a magistrate's disinterested determination to issue a search warrant will justify the officers in making a search without a warrant would reduce the Amendment to a nullity and leave the people's homes secure only in the discretion of police officers. Crime, even in the privacy of one's own quarters, is, of course, of grave concern to society, and the law allows such crime to be reached on proper showing. The right of officers to thrust themselves into a home is also a grave concern, not only to the individual but to a society which chooses to dwell in reasonable security and freedom from surveillance. When the right of privacy must reasonably yield to the right of search is, as a rule, to be decided by a judicial officer, not by a policeman or government enforcement agent." (Footnotes omitted.)
"Both sides to the controversy appear to recognize a distinction between searches and seizures that take place on a man's property—his home or office—and those carried out elsewhere. It is accepted, at least as a matter of principle, that a search or seizure carried out on a suspect's premises without a warrant is per se unreasonable, unless the police can show that it falls within one of a carefully defined set of exceptions based on the presence of `exigent circumstances.'
"It is clear, then, that the notion that the warrantless entry of a man's house in order to arrest him on probable cause is per se legitimate is in fundamental conflict with the basic principle of Fourth Amendment law that searches and seizures inside a man's house without warrant are per se unreasonable in the absence of some one of a number of well defined `exigent circumstances.'" 403 U. S., at 474-475, 477-478.
Although Mr. Justice Harlan joined this portion of the Court's opinion, he expressly disclaimed any position on the issue now before us. Id., at 492 (concurring opinion).
"It is settled doctrine that probable cause for belief that certain articles subject to seizure are in a dwelling cannot of itself justify a search without a warrant. Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 33; Taylor v. United States, 286 U.S. 1, 6. The decisions of this Court have time and again underscored the essential purpose of the Fourth Amendment to shield the citizen from unwarranted intrusions into his privacy. See, e. g., Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14; McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 455; cf. Giordenello v. United States, [357 U.S. 480]. This purpose is realized by Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which implements the Fourth Amendment by requiring that an impartial magistrate determine from an affidavit showing probable cause whether information possessed by law-enforcement officers justifies the issuance of a search warrant. Were federal officers free to search without a warrant merely upon probable cause to believe that certain articles were within a home, the provisions of the Fourth Amendment would become empty phrases, and the protection it affords largely nullified." Jones v. United States, 357 U. S., at 497-498 (footnote omitted).
The Court added in a footnote:
"Until 1951, 18 U. S. C. § 3052 conditioned the warrantless arrest powers of the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on there being reasonable grounds to believe that the person would escape before a warrant could be obtained. The Act of Jan. 10, 1951, c. 1221, § 1, 64 Stat. 1239, eliminated this condition." Id., at 423, n. 13.
"The popularity of Coke in the colonies is of no small significance. Coke himself had been at the eye of the storm in the clashes between King and Parliament in the early seventeenth century which did so much to shape the English Constitution. He rose to high office at the instance of the Crown—he was Speaker of the House of Commons and Attorney General under Queen Elizabeth, and James I made Coke first his Chief Justice of Common Peas and then his Chief Justice of King's Bench. During this time Coke gained an unchallenged position as the greatest authority of his time on the laws of England, frequently burying an opponent with learned citations from early Year Books. Having been a champion of the Crown's interests, Coke (in a change of role that recalls the metamorphosis of Thomas à Becket) became instead the defender of the common law." A. Howard, The Road From Runnymede 118-119 (1968). (Footnotes omitted.)
"As early as the 13th Yearbook of Edward IV (1461-1483), at folio 9, there is a recorded holding that it was unlawful for the sheriff to break the doors of a man's house to arrest him in a civil suit in debt or trespass, for the arrest was then only for the private interest of a party."
In the report of that case it is noted that although the sheriff may break open the door of a barn without warning to effect service of a writ, a demand and refusal must precede entry into a dwelling house. Id., at 91b, n. (c), 77 Eng. Rep., at 196, n. (c):
"And this privilege is confined to a man's dwelling-house, or out-house adjoining thereto, for the sheriff on a fieri facias may break open the door of a barn standing at a distance from the dwelling-house, without requesting the owner to open the door, in the same manner as he may enter a close. Penton v. Brown, 2 Keb. 698, S. C. 1 Sid. 186."
We have long recognized the relevance of the common law's special regard for the home to the development of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. See, e. g., Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 390:
"Judge Cooley, in his Constitutional Limitations, pp. 425, 426, in treating of this feature of our Constitution, said: `The maxim that "every man's house is his castle," is made a part of our constitutional law in the clauses prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures, and has always been looked upon as of high value to the citizen.' `Accordingly,' says Lieber in his work on Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 62, in speaking of the English law in this respect, `no man's house can be forcibly opened, or he or his goods be carried away after it has thus been forced, except in cases of felony, and then the sheriff must be furnished with a warrant, and take great care lest he commit a trespass. This principle is jealously insisted upon."
Although the quote from Lieber concerning warrantless arrests in the home is on point for today's cases, it was dictum in Weeks. For that case involved a warrantless arrest in a public place, and a warrantless search of Week's home in his absence.
A number of courts in these States, though not directly deciding the issue, have recognized that the constitutionality of such entries is open to question. See People v. Wolgemuth, 69 Ill.2d 154, 370 N.E.2d 1067 (1977), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 908; State v. Ranker, 343 So.2d 189 (La. 1977) (citing both State and Federal Constitutions); State v. Lasley, 306 Minn. 224, 236 N.W.2d 604 (1975), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1077; State v. Novak, 428 S.W.2d 585 (Mo. 1968); State v. Page, 277 N.W.2d 112 (N. D. 1979); State v. Max, 263 N.W.2d 685 (S. D. 1978).
"The Director, Associate Director, Assistant to the Director, Assistant Directors, inspectors, and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice may carry firearms, serve warrants and subpoenas issued under the authority of the United States and make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony." 18 U. S. C. § 3052.
It says nothing either way about executing warrantless arrests in the home. See also ALI Code, at 308; Columbia Note 1554-1555, n. 26.
"`The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England cannot enter—all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!'" Miller v. United States, 357 U. S., at 307.
"But a constable in such case may justify, and the reason of the difference is this: because that in the former case it is but a thing permitted to private persons to arrest for suspicion, and they are not punishable if they omit it, and therefore they cannot break open doors; but in case of a constable, he is punishable if he omit it upon complaint." 1 Burn 87-88 (emphasis in original).
Burn apparently refers to a constable's duty to act without a warrant on complaint of a citizen.