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Week 46 (2020)

Week of November 9, 2020 through November 13, 2020

United States v. Brinkley (Motz 11/13/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that officers, armed with an arrest warrant, lacked probable cause to enter an apartment where they had reason to believe the defendant resided. In its decision, the court noted that the courts of appeal split on the quantum of proof required for an officer to show that he or she had reasonable belief to enter a residence with an arrest warrant. The court adopted a probable cause standard for entry based on reasonable belief. Applying that standard, the court determined that officers entry into the defendant’s apartment fell below probable cause. The court, therefore, concluded that the entry was unlawful. The court reversed the district court decision, which denied the defendant’s suppression motion, vacated the defendant’s convictions and sentence, and remanded the case for further proceedings. Full Opinion 

It seems to us that interpreting reasonable belief to require probable cause hews most closely to Supreme Court precedent and most faithfully implements the special protections that the Fourth Amendment affords the home. For these reasons, we join those courts “that have held that reasonable belief in the Payton context ‘embodies the same standard of reasonableness inherent in probable cause.’” Id. (quoting United States v. Gorman, 314 F.3d 1105, 1111 (9th Cir. 2002)). 

United States v. Brinkley, No. 18-4455, 2020 WL 6685070, at *6 (4th Cir. Nov. 13, 2020)

Wambura v. Barr (Quattlebaum 11/13/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that once the requirements for removability are met under the immigration laws, the burden of proof—for the purpose of an alien’s eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act and for protection under the Convention Against Torture—lies with the alien seeking relief from removal. Further, the Fourth Circuit held that under 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(4)(B), the immigration judge (“IJ”) is not required to provide an alien with advance notice of the need to offer corroborating evidence, but that the IJ must make a finding on the availability of corroborating evidence. The court granted the petition in part and remanded that claim for further proceedings. And it denied the petition for review as to all other issues. Full Opinion 

Jessica Thompson