Your Home is Safe from Unlawful Search & Seizure in New Mexico

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinforces the long held and cherished 4th Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure in the unlawful intrusion by police into an Albuquerque home.

In Manzanares v. Higdon, Albuquerque Police officers came to the home of the Defendant Manzanares for the purpose of investigating Manzanares‘ co-worker in a rape case.

The Albuquerque Police Officers first arrived at the home of Manzanares at 5:50 AM in the morning. From the beginning, Manzanares was very cooperative with the Albuquerque Police officers, allowing them into them into his home, and providing helpful information into the identify and location of the alleged rapist.

The police continued with the interrogation for hours on end until finally Manzanares asked that the police leave his home. The police refused to leave, instead handcuffing Manzanares as they continued to interrogate him.

Manzanares brought a civil lawsuit against the police under the 4th Amendment for Illegal Search & Seizure. The jury ruled in favor of Albuquerque Police Officer Higdon on all counts.

Manzanares filed a Motion of Judgment as a Matter of Law. This Motion was denied by the trial court. Manzanares filed an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 10th ruled in favor of Manzanares that his 4th Amendment rights were violated as a matter of law.

The police officers argued that officers argued the encounter constituted an investigative stop and that his detention was needed to prevent his interference with the investigation. The Court was not persuaded putting great emphasis on the fact that the seizure occurred in Manzanares home.

The Court recognized that Manzanares consented to the entry of the police into his home. However the court stressed that his consent could be withdrawn at any time. The refusal of the Albuquerque Police officers to leave once consent was withdrawn amounted to an illegal arrest without probable cause in violation of the search and seizure clause in 4th Amendment.

The Court emphasized the sanctity of the home stating, ” It has been clear for nearly thirty years that a warrantless entry into a home…is presumptively unreasonable. The Supreme Court has consistently reiterated the famous refrain that a man‘s home is his castle and has preserved the home as the center of the Fourth Amendment‘s protections.”

The court found that reasonable police officers would have recognized that their refusal to leave upon withdrawal of consent constituted a seizure. There was no warrant, no probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, and no extraordinary circumstances to justify their continued presence in Manzanares‘ home against his wishes.

Once his consent to their presence was withdrawn, their refusal to leave was a violation of the 4th Amendment. This means you too have this right.


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