A Kansas Court of Appeals panel has ruled a Lawrence police officer overstepped the bounds of the Fourth Amendment when she stuck her foot under a garage door to confront and later arrest a suspect in his home in 2009.
The judges released their opinion Friday in the appeal of Troy E. Dugan’s DUI and traffic-related convictions, saying Officer Laurie Scott should have applied for a warrant the afternoon of Sept. 17, 2009, instead of placing her foot under Dugan’s closing garage door.
It tripped a safety mechanism causing the door to open, and Scott began investigating Dugan.
The appellate judges also ruled Douglas County Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild erred in denying a motion by Dugan’s defense attorney to suppress evidence Scott obtained after she stuck her foot under the garage door.
“Although the question might be closer than some, we do not share the district court’s tolerance for the governmental breach of a private residence and, therefore, reverse that ruling with directions the motion be granted,” the judges wrote in their opinion released Friday.