|dc.description.abstract||2021 Supreme Court Competition Problem:
One fateful night, Ronnie Dobbs was playing music very loud and honking the horn of his car for no apparent reason. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Terry Twillstein was nearby, and he had reasonable suspicion and probable cause to believe that Dobbs was violating a local noise ordinance.
Trooper Twillstein followed Dobbs and caught up to him. When Trooper Twillstein’s car was directly behind Dobbs’ vehicle, he turned on his overhead lights and his siren to initiate a traffic stop. But Dobbs did not stop—instead, he turned onto a driveway, drove up, and parked in a garage. Trooper Twillstein saw the garage begin to close as soon as Dobbs’ vehicle was inside—so he jumped out of his vehicle, ran to the garage door, and put his foot in front of the sensor to stop the door from closing. Then, Trooper Twillstein walked into the garage to talk to Dobbs. Upon speaking with Dobbs, Trooper Twillstein observed that Dobbs was drunk and arrested him. Dobbs was charged with Operating While Intoxicated (third offense).
Dobbs seems to have committed two misdemeanors, in addition to the noise ordinance violation: eluding and interference with official acts. Under Iowa law, Trooper Twillstein was authorized to arrest Dobbs for committing any misdemeanor offense in his presence. But by following Dobbs into his garage as Dobbs fled from him, Trooper Twillstein made a warrantless entry into the protected area of Dobbs’ home (the “curtilage”). That would violate both the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution—unless that warrantless entry was “reasonable” in a constitutional sense. The State argues that this fits within the exception for warrantless entry in “hot pursuit” of a fleeing offender. Dobbs argues that these facts do not establish the kind of exigency that would be required to invoke the “hot pursuit” exception to the warrant requirement.
A very similar case is pending in the U.S. Supreme Court right now: Lange v. California. But Lange only involved a Fourth Amendment claim. This case involves a Fourth Amendment claim, but it also involves a challenge under Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. The Iowa Supreme Court is the ultimate authority on what the Iowa Constitution allows, and what it forbids. Our competitors will have to advance their most persuasive vision for how to read and apply each of these constitutional provisions, how to balance the complex array of competing interests involved, and how to craft a fair and practical rule that Iowa courts can apply to resolve future cases.
The two questions before the Supreme Court are:
1. Did Trooper Twillstein’s entry into Dobbs’ garage—while in “hot pursuit” of a person who had committed a misdemeanor eluding offense—violate the Fourth Amendment?
2. Did Trooper Twillstein’s entry into Dobbs’ garage—while in “hot pursuit” of a person who had committed a misdemeanor eluding offense—violate Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution?||en_US