By Caroline Hunt

In United States v. Allen, the Second Circuit faced the topic of a circuit split and held that in order to determine the constitutionality of “across the threshold” warrantless arrests, courts need only look to the location of the arrested person. In a landmark case, Payton v. New York, the Supreme Court held that several New York statutes, which “authorize[d] police officers to enter a private residence without a warrant” to make a routine felony arrest, were in violation of the Fourth Amendment. While this holding provided some guidance, it left several pivotal questions unanswered and has led to a significant split among the federal circuit courts as to what the proper application of the rule in Payton should be. In light of the growing tension between police officers and the public, it is essential that law enforcement officers are given clear guidelines. The Second Circuit was correct in its holding because a broad application of Payton encourages law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant or seek other avenues for effecting an arrest, simplifies the necessary criteria for effecting a constitutional across the threshold warrantless arrest, and ensures that Fourth Amendment protections are not violated.

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Recommended Citation
Caroline Hunt, Reaching Across the Threshold of the Fourth Amendment – Why Payton v. New York Should be Interpreted Broadly, 70 SMU L. Rev. 189 (2017)