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New Mexico Supreme Court rules in privacy rights case

January 25, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has provided new legal guidance on when police are justified to enter a private residence without a warrant.

In a ruling Thursday, the court found that authorities did not violate a Farmington man’s constitutional right to privacy by entering an unlocked apartment without a warrant to check on the residents inside.

At issue was whether an officer’s decision to enter the apartment was reasonable under the emergency assistance doctrine, which allows warrantless entry to aid injured occupants or to protect them from harm.

The officer heard an infant’s cries and another child hollering after a neighbor reported hearing a loud thumping noise. Inside, the officer found two intoxicated people passed out on the floor with an infant and two other young children in the room.

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