State v. Geisler, 6934

Citation25 Conn.App. 282,594 A.2d 985
Decision Date03 October 1991
Docket NumberNo. 6934,6934
CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Martin GEISLER

Page 985

594 A.2d 985
25 Conn.App. 282
STATE of Connecticut
No. 6934.
Appellate Court of Connecticut.
Argued April 17, 1991.
Decided June 24, 1991.
Certification Granted Oct. 3, 1991.

Page 986

[25 Conn.App. 283] Richard Emanuel, Asst. Public Defender, for appellant (defendant).

Leon F. Dalbec, Jr., Asst. State's Atty., with whom were Steven M. Sellers, Asst. State's Atty., and, on the brief, John J. Kelley, Chief State's Atty., for appellee (State).


[25 Conn.App. 283] DUPONT, Chief Judge.

The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether evidence derived from a warrantless entry and arrest in the defendant's home should have been suppressed by virtue of the right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures guaranteed by article first, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution.

In our original decision in this case, State v. Geisler, 22 Conn.App. 142, 576 A.2d 1283, cert. denied, 215 Conn. 819, 576 A.2d 547 (1990), vacated, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 663, 112 L.Ed.2d 657 (1991), (Geisler I ), we concluded that the warrantless entry into the defendant's home violated the fourth amendment to the United States constitution because there were no exigent circumstances present to justify such entry. We held that evidence derived from the illegal arrest was a tainted product of that arrest and, thus, should have been suppressed. State v. Geisler, supra, at 158-59, 576 A.2d 1283.

The defendant claimed in Geisler I that the failure of the trial court to suppress the evidence violated his rights under both the federal and state constitutions. 1 Although the defendant had preserved his state constitutional claim at trial, we considered the defendant's claim under only federal law. 2

Page 987

The United States [25 Conn.App. 284] Supreme Court vacated our judgment and remanded the case to us for further consideration in light of New York v. Harris, 495 U.S. 14, 110 S.Ct. 1640, 109 L.Ed.2d 13 (1990). 3

The Harris court, in a five to four decision, held that "[w]here the police have probable cause to arrest a suspect, the exclusionary rule does not bar the State's use of a statement made by the defendant outside of his home, even though the statement is taken after an [25 Conn.App. 285] arrest made in the home in violation of Payton [v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639 (1980) ]." Id., 110 S.Ct. at 1641. 4

The facts of this case were set forth fully in Geisler I and only certain ones need be recited here. At a hearing on a motion to suppress, the parties stipulated that " '(1) probable cause existed for the defendant's arrest at the time of the warrantless entry and (2) the defendant was arrested inside his home by police who entered without a warrant.' " State v. Geisler, supra, 22 Conn.App. at 148, 576 A.2d 1283. After arresting the defendant, the police placed him in a patrol car, advised him of his Miranda rights, 5 and proceeded to police headquarters. Once at the police station, the police again advised the defendant of his rights. They then asked the defendant to answer a series of questions and to perform an agility test, both of which were videotaped. The police also administered two intoximeter tests and photographed the defendant. The defendant moved to have his statements, the video tape, the intoximeter results and the photograph suppressed on the ground that they were obtained by exploiting his illegal arrest. The trial court ruled that this evidence was not the fruit of an illegal arrest, and thus admitted it.

Following the remand of the case by the United States Supreme Court, the defendant has set forth a separate argument claiming that he is entitled to relief under our state constitution. Specifically, the defendant argues that excluding only evidence found or statements taken inside a defendant's home after an illegal, warrantless arrest therein is incompatible with article [25 Conn.App. 286] first, § 7, of our state constitution. That section provides in its entirety: "The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches or seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation." This language is very similar to the protections afforded by the fourth amendment to the United States constitution. 6

In the context of a specific case, we have the inherent authority to interpret the Connecticut constitution. State v. Dukes, 209 Conn. 98, 109, 547 A.2d 10 (1988); State v. Barrett, 205 Conn. 437, 442, 534 A.2d 219 (1987); State v. Kimbro, 197 Conn. 219, 234, 496 A.2d 498 (1985). "We have frequently relied upon decisions of the United States Supreme Court interpreting the fourth amendment, as well as other amendments to the United States constitution, to define the contours of the protections

Page 988

provided in the various sections of the declaration of rights contained in our state constitution." State v. Marsala, 216 Conn. 150, 159-60, 579 A.2d 58 (1990). Although federal interpretations of consonant provisions of the federal constitution are persuasive authority, we are not bound to follow a federal interpretation in interpreting our state constitution. State v. Dukes, supra, 209 Conn. at 113, 547 A.2d 10. The United States Supreme Court has specifically noted that each state has the "sovereign right to adopt in its own Constitution individual liberties more expansive than those conferred by the Federal Constitution." Pruneyard Shopping Center[25 Conn.App. 287] v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 81, 100 S.Ct. 2035, 2040, 64 L.Ed.2d 741 (1980). On several occasions, the Connecticut Supreme Court has looked to our state constitution, when appropriate, to afford our citizens greater protection of certain personal rights than provided for by similar provisions of the federal constitution. See, e.g., State v. Marsala, supra, 216 Conn. at 160, 579 A.2d 58; State v. Dukes, supra, 209 Conn. at 112, 547 A.2d 10; State v. Stoddard, 206 Conn. 157, 166, 537 A.2d 446 (1988); State v. Kimbro, supra, 197 Conn. at 235, 496 A.2d 498. One of the benefits of federalism is that the citizens of a particular state will enjoy all the rights and protections guaranteed by the federal government as well as such greater rights and protections as may be accorded them by the state government.

We must interpret state constitutional provisions within the context of the times. State v. Dukes, supra, 209 Conn. at 114, 547 A.2d 10. "The Connecticut constitution is an instrument of progress, it is intended to stand for a great length of time and should not be interpreted too narrowly or too literally so that it fails to have contemporary effectiveness for all of our citizens." Id., at 115, 547 A.2d 10.

In the present case, we must determine whether the exclusionary rule of this state, protecting those rights afforded by article first, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution, is broader than the federal exclusionary rule as defined in New York v. Harris, supra.

The court in Harris began its analysis by noting that, in light of Payton v. New York, supra, the defendant's warrantless arrest in his home violated the fourth amendment to the United States constitution. The court, nevertheless, declined to apply the exclusionary rule to statements that were made by the defendant outside of his home following the Payton violation because the court reasoned that "the rule in Payton was designed to protect the physical integrity of the home; it was not intended to grant criminal suspects, [25 Conn.App. 288] like Harris, protection for statements made outside their premises where the police have probable cause to arrest the suspect for committing a crime." New York v. Harris, supra, 110 S.Ct. at 1643. The court further reasoned that even though Payton drew a line at the entrance to a home, nothing in Payton suggested that "an arrest in a home without a warrant but with probable cause somehow renders unlawful continued custody of the suspect once he is removed from the house." Id. The court, therefore, concluded that because the police had probable cause to arrest the defendant, the defendant was lawfully in custody once he was removed from his home. Id.

Having reached this conclusion, the court proceeded to distinguish such cases as Taylor v. Alabama, 457 U.S. 687, 102 S.Ct. 2664, 73 L.Ed.2d 314 (1982); Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200, 99 S.Ct. 2248, 60 L.Ed.2d 824 (1979); and Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590, 95 S.Ct. 2254, 45 L.Ed.2d 416 (1975). These...

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