How does the 4th Amendment apply to police entry into a person’s home?

The Fourth Amendment to The Constitution of the United States reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.

Write a 1,050–1,400 word essay that addresses the following:

Answer the following five questions:

  1. How does the 4th Amendment apply to police entry into a person’s home?
  2. What is needed for police to obtain a warrant to search a home?
  3. Under what circumstances can police enter a private residence without one?

    Consider the following Scenario: A Case of ‘Who did it?’

    Mary Ellis, a widow who resides with her adult son William, awakens on a Saturday morning and goes to her walk-in closet, where she finds a man whom she recognizes as a neighbor, Clyde Stevens, lying on the floor unresponsive. Mrs. Ellis calls 911. Minutes later, police and EMS personnel arrive. Mr. Stevens is pronounced dead from an apparent stabbing, as he has a large butcher knife protruding from his back. Mrs. Ellis is transported to the hospital for observation, as she is quite distraught.

  4. Could police have entered Mary Ellis’s home legally without a warrant?
  5. To what extent, if any, could police legally gather evidence from the Ellis home without a warrant?

Recommended resource: Mincey V. Arizona 437 U.S. 385 (1978)

No. 77-5353. Retrieved from

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