Court: Officer Who Stuck Foot Under Garage Door Overstepped Constitution - KansasCity.com
When a police officer stuck her foot under a Lawrence man’s closing garage door, triggering it to open, she also stepped over the protective boundary of the U.S. Constitution, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled Friday
In a case affirming the court’s stance concerning the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, the court ruled that evidence subsequently gathered against the man was illegally obtained.
The “relatively mundane facts” of the case — the man was a suspect in a minor injury hit and run traffic crash — “belie the magnitude of the constitutional right and the significance of the constitutional issue,” the court wrote.
On Sept. 19, 2009, the officer saw an SUV matching the description of one that had driven away after striking another vehicle in downtown Lawrence. The officer followed the vehicle until it turned into a driveway. Only after the driver pulled into the garage did the officer turn on her patrol car’s lights.
As the garage door was closing she placed her foot under it and then went inside where she contacted the driver. The man was later charged and convicted of DUI and related traffic offenses.