Engleman v. Murray and Extraterritorial Enforcement of Arrest Warrants:
The Eighth Circuit decided a very interesting Fourth Amendment case yesterday involving extraterritorial enforcement of warrants: Engleman v. Murray. The case end up creating some interesting tensions in Fourth Amendment law, so I thought I would blog a bit about it.

  First, the facts. Engleman made a 911 call to report a prowler, and he gave the address of the home where he was calling as "24512 Van Fleet Road, Siloam Springs, Arkansas." The call was routed to the Arkansas local police, who learned in the course of the call that there was an Arkansas warrant out for Engleman's arrest. The police ended up going to the home and searching for Engleman to execute the Arkansas warrant. In the home, though, the officers were told that the home was actually inside Oklahoma, not Arkansas. Indeed, believe it or not, it turns out that while the mailbox of the home is in Arkansas — and thus the mailing address of the home is in Arkansas — the Oklahoma/Arkansas line cuts through the property and the home itself is actually located in Oklahoma. (What is this, a law school exam?) The police arrested Engleman under the Arkansas warrant, and Engleman then sued the police for violating his Fourth Amendment rights by carrying out the Arkansas warrant in Oklahoma.

  In a divided opinion by Judge Gruender, joined by Judge Beam, the Eighth Circuit concluded that under the originalist framework articulated by the Supreme Court in Virginia v. Moore, the Arkansas warrant was invalid in Oklahoma. Under the English common law, warrants had no force outside their territory:
At the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, a warrant issued in one English county was not valid in another county unless a justice of the peace in that county "backed" the warrant. See William Blackstone, 4 Commentaries *292. "[W]hen a warrant is received by the officer he is bound to execute it, so far as the jurisdiction of the magistrate and himself extends." Id. at *291; see Blatcher v. Kemp, (1782) 126 Eng. Rep. 10, 10 n.a (Maidstone Assizes) ("No constable can act under a warrant, out of his district . . . ."); R v. Chandler, (1700) 91 Eng. Rep. 1264, 1265 (K.B.) ("[W]here a precept or warrant is directed to men by the name of their office, it is confined to the districts in which they are officers."). Under a historical understanding of the Fourth Amendment, the jurisdiction of the issuing judge and the executing officer is limited, and a warrant is not valid if an officer acts outside of that limited jurisdiction. See Lawson v. Buzines, 3 Del. (3 Harr.) 416, 416 (Sup. Ct. 1842) (concluding that "a constable of the city . . . has no authority out of the city limits" to execute an arrest warrant issued in that county); Copeland v. Isley, 19 N.C. (2 Dev. & Bat.) 505, 505 (1837) ("[A]n officer must proceed to arrest at some place actually in his own county . . . .").
  The court then concluded that qualified immunity nonetheless applied because under the circumstances, the officers could reasonably believe that they were in Arkansas, not Oklahoma, and therefore had authority to carry out the warrant. (Confusingly, at the end of the opinion the court says that because the officers reasonably believed that they were in Arkansas, they reasonably relied on the warrant and did not violate the Fourth Amendment but that qualified immunity applied because the right was not clearly established — more on this in a moment.) Judge Bye dissented, arguing that the officers should have known they had no authority to do what they did.

  A few thoughts and reactions to the case. First, it's fascinating that the court here, and a few other courts recently, are construing Virginia v. Moore as requiring an originalist analysis of the reasonableness of a search or seizure. Lower courts usually ignore methodological advice like that, and instead engage in either reliance on precedent or the balancing approach to reasonableness. Is Moore going to signal a more widespread reliance on originalism in Fourth Amendment law in the lower courts? Time will tell, but it might.