495 U.S. 91 (1990), 88-1916, Minnesota v. Olson

Docket Nº:No. 88-1916
Citation:495 U.S. 91, 110 S.Ct. 1684, 109 L.Ed.2d 85, 58 U.S.L.W. 4464
Party Name:Minnesota v. Olson
Case Date:April 18, 1990
Court:United States Supreme Court

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495 U.S. 91 (1990)

110 S.Ct. 1684, 109 L.Ed.2d 85, 58 U.S.L.W. 4464




No. 88-1916

United States Supreme Court

April 18, 1990

Argued Feb. 26, 1990



Police suspected respondent Olson of being the driver of the getaway car used in a robbery-murder. After recovering the murder weapon and arresting the suspected murderer, they surrounded the home of two women with whom they believed Olson had been staying. When police telephoned the home and told one of the women that Olson should come out, a male voice was heard saying "tell them I left." Without seeking permission, and with weapons drawn, they entered the home, found Olson hiding in a closet, and arrested him. Shortly thereafter, he made an inculpatory statement, which the trial court refused to suppress. He was convicted of murder, armed robbery, and assault. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed, ruling that Olson had a sufficient interest in the women's home to challenge the legality of his warrantless arrest, that the arrest was illegal because there were no exigent circumstances to justify warrantless entry, and that his statement was tainted, and should have been suppressed.

Held: The arrest violated Olson's Fourth Amendment rights.

(a) Olson's status as an overnight guest is alone sufficient to show that he had an expectation of privacy in the home that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 143-144; cf. Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257. The distinctions relied on by the State between this case and Jones -- that there, the overnight guest was left alone and had a key to the premises with which he could come and go and admit and exclude others -- are not legally determinative. All citizens share the expectation that hosts will more likely than not respect their guests' privacy interests even if the guests have no legal interest in the premises and do not have the legal authority to determine who may enter the household. Pp. 95-100.

(b) The State Supreme Court applied essentially the correct standard in holding that there were no exigent circumstances justifying the warrantless entry: an entry may be justified by hot pursuit of a fleeing felon, the imminent destruction of evidence, the need to prevent a suspect's escape, or the risk of danger to the police or others; but, in the absence of hot pursuit, there must be at least probable cause to believe that one or more of the other factors were present and, in assessing the risk of danger, the gravity of the crime and likelihood that the suspect is

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armed should be considered. This Court is not inclined to disagree with the fact-specific [110 S.Ct. 1686] application of this standard by the lower court, which pointed out that, although a grave crime was involved, Olson was known not to be the murderer and the murder weapon had been recovered; that there was no suggestion of danger to the women; that several police squads surrounded the house; that it was Sunday afternoon; that it was evident that the suspect was going nowhere; and that, if he came out of the house, he would have been promptly apprehended. Pp. 100-101.

436 N.W.2d 92, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, STEVENS, O'CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., post, p. 101, and KENNEDY, J., post, p. 102, filed concurring opinions. REHNQUIST, C.J., and BLACKMUN, J., dissented.

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WHITE, J., lead opinion

Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The police in this case made a warrantless, nonconsensual entry into a house where Olson was an overnight guest and arrested him. The issue is whether the arrest violated Olson's Fourth Amendment rights. We hold that it did.


Shortly before 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 1987, a lone gunman robbed an Amoco gasoline station in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and fatally shot the station manager. A police officer heard the police dispatcher report and suspected Joseph Ecker. The officer and his partner drove immediately to Ecker's home, arriving at about the same time that an Oldsmobile arrived. The Oldsmobile took evasive action, spun out of control, and came to a stop. Two men fled the car on foot. Ecker, who was later identified as the gunman, was captured shortly thereafter inside his home. The second man escaped.

Inside the abandoned Oldsmobile, police found a sack of money and the murder weapon. They also found a title certificate with the name Rob Olson crossed out as a secured party, a letter addressed to a Roger R. Olson of 3151 Johnson Street, and a videotape rental receipt made out to Rob Olson and dated two days earlier. The police verified that a Robert Olson lived at 3151 Johnson Street.

The next morning, Sunday, July 19, a woman identifying herself as Dianna Murphy called the police and said that a man by the name of Rob drove the car in which the gas station killer left the scene, and that Rob was planning to leave town by bus. About noon, the same woman called again, gave her address and phone number, and said that a man named Rob had told a Maria and two other women, Louanne and Julie, that he was the driver in the Amoco robbery. The caller stated that Louanne was Julie's mother, and that the two women lived at 2406 Fillmore Northeast. The detective-in-charge who took the second phone call sent police

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officers to 2406 Fillmore to check out Louanne and Julie. When police arrived, they determined that the dwelling was a duplex and that Louanne Bergstrom and her daughter Julie lived in the upper unit, but were not home. Police spoke to Louanne's mother, Helen Niederhoffer, who lived in the lower unit. She confirmed that a Rob Olson had been staying upstairs, but was not then in the unit. She promised to call the police when Olson...

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