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7th Circuit affirms residential search based on ‘nonverbal cues’

July 31, 2013

A warrantless search was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the defendant consented through nonverbal cues, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

In United States of America v. Terry L. Sabo, 12-2700, Sabo appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence gathered in a search of his trailer that resulted in his guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on charges of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Sabo stepped back after authorities asked if they could come inside his trailer and talk with him, implying consent, the court ruled.

"We have recently noted that ‘this court, on more than one occasion, has found that the act of opening a door and stepping back to allow entry is sufficient to demonstrate consent,’” Judge David Hamilton wrote. “We make the same finding here — Sabo’s nonverbal cue manifested his implied consent for (Detective Donald) McCune to enter.”

 

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