US v. Alberto Perez-Jacome, 10th Circuit Dec. 16, 2009

US v. Alberto Perez-Jacome, 10th Circuit Dec. 16, 2009 The defendant in this case owned a home in Kansas City that came under suspicion when a wanted individual Hector Moreira was identified as living there.  DEA agents were attempting to sting Moreira, and arrange for sales of narcotics to an informant.  The informant indicated Moreira lived at the defendant's address, and an arrest warrant was issued for him after sales were accomplished.  No criminal activity was witnessed or occurred at the residence however.  Arrest teams waited for Moreira to arrive at the home and then forcibly entered.  The defendant then was found standing in his own home.

Defendant challenged his arrest during the execution of the arrest warrant for Moreira.  The entry into the home with only an arrest warrant for another person was affirmed by the Circuit, under Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980).  Officers must establish a reasonable basis for believing that the suspect “both (1) lived in the residence and (2) could be found within at the time of entry.” Valdez v. McPheters, 172 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir. 1999).

Defendant argued that a different rule applied for his guest, not resident of his home.  That rule required a search warrant and arrest warrant, when no reasonable basis for believing the suspect lives in the residence could be offered.  Steagald v. US, 451 U.S. 204 (1981).   The court found however that Moreira apparently lived in the residence based on the informant's statements that Moreira referred to it as "my house", and surveillance of the home disclosed Moreira entering the home multiple times on the day of arrest.