What is the “curtilage” of a residence? Under what circumstances can law enforcement search the outside of a residence without a search warrant? These are some of the questions considered by the Kansas Supreme Court in its recent decision in State v. Talkington (No. 107,596), decided on March 6, 2015.
The Talkington case involved a drug search in the area outside of a residence. Three issues were implicated in the case: (1) whether a residential backyard is part of the “curtilage” under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) whether a social guest in the residence can challenge the search of host’s residence; and (3) whether drugs found on the defendant’s person after an illegal search of the curtilage should be suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Many search and seizure issues were implicated in this case. It is an important case and one that deserves careful reading.