Magazine article Security Management

Alarms

Magazine article Security Management

Alarms

Article excerpt

Alarms. An Oregon appeals court has ruled that the police search of a citizen's home in response to a false burglar alarm was illegal.

On the evening of February 23, 2002, the burglar alarm went off at Damon Stoudamire's house in Lake Oswego, Oregon. A professional basketball player, he was a few hours away in Portland, playing in a basketball game. His neighbors called the police.

Police officers arrived at the scene. The back door of the house was open about a foot, and neighbors claimed to have seen an unfamiliar car pull out of the driveway 45 minutes earlier. However, there was no evidence of a forced entry. In compliance with department policy when responding to a burglary call, the officers entered and searched Stoudamire's house.

The police did not find a burglar, but they did discover a large bag of marijuana. The officers confiscated the drugs and left Stoudamire a false-alarm notice indicating that they had been in the house and why they had been there.

Officers returned to Stoudamire's house a week later and told him of the marijuana they had found. They charged Stoudamire with possession of a controlled substance. In the run-up to Stoudamire's trial, defense attorneys moved to suppress the evidence found in their client's home. Attorneys argued that the officers had no right to search Stoudamire's home.

Prosecutors argued that the search was valid on several grounds. First, the state argued that Stoudamire had consented to the search when he purchased a burglar alarm and contracted with a company to monitor the alarm and call police when the alarm was triggered. …

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