Motion to Suppress Consent Once Removed Roctrine

The consent-once-removed doctrine applies to the warrantless entry into a residence by backup officers summoned to assist an undercover officer with making an arrest when the undercover officer’s initial entry into the residence was based on consent of someone with authority to consent.

The doctrine is based on the theory that, because an undercover officer who establishes probable cause to arrest the suspect may in fact arrest the suspect then and there, the undercover officer should be entitled to call in the officer with whom he is working to assist in the arrest.

In O’Neill v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov’t, the plaintiff granted two undercover officers permission to enter the home. The undercover officers spoke with the plaintiff and then left the residence. The undercover officers returned momentarily with several uniformed officers. The officers then entered the plaintiff’s home without a warrant or consent. Inside the residence, the officers seized property, but never arrested or intended to arrest anyone.

The consent-once-removed doctrine allows officers to enter a suspect’s residence to arrest the suspect without a warrant if undercover officers entered at the express invitation of someone with authority to consent; at that point the undercover officers established the existence of probable cause to effectuate an arrest or search; and the undercover officers immediately summoned help from other officers. The intent of the entry by the backup officers must be to immediately effectuate an arrest.

The Court refused to extend the consent-once-removed doctrine to this case because the undercover officers had left the residence and the backup officers did not rush in to effectuate an arrest nor did they intend to make an arrest inside the residence. Essentially, because there was a separation of time between when the undercover officers where given consent to enter the residence and when the backup officers arrived, the consent-once-removed doctrine did not apply, the evidence was properly suppressed and the case was dismissed.

Mr. Loren Dickstein, Esq.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney


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Southfield, MI   48075

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