Accordingly, the emergency aid exception must be seen as a limited exception permitting a warrantless search when: (1) law enforcement officers enter the premises with an objectively reasonable basis to believe someone inside is seriously injured or imminently threatened with serious injury; and (2) the manner and scope of any ensuing search once inside the premises is reasonable. Our prior caselaw holding otherwise is overruled.
In Neighbors' case, the only evidence arguably in plain view was the Q-Tip, and it is unclear from the record whether it was even confiscated. The only testimony at the suppression hearing was that Delgado observed it, but there was no testimony indicating it was tested for drugs. But even assuming Neighbors' motion to suppress included the Q-Tip, it is questionable whether the seizure could be upheld under the plain-view exception because its incriminating nature was not apparent without conducting some further search of it. More importantly, and as discussed next, Delgado was not lawfully present from the outset, so his discovery of the Q-Tip fell outside the justification for the initial entry.
One additional problem we note with the panel's analysis is that it seems to create an end run around the probable cause requirement by characterizing a criminal investigation itself as an emergency. We reject that suggestion. We cannot find any previous Kansas case invoking the emergency aid exception for the protection of property. And as mentioned earlier, this expansion of the exception would be difficult to reconcile with Brigham City.
We hold the emergency aid exception—as articulated in Brigham City—does not apply to the protection of property. We hold further that the potential medical emergency that justified the four officers' initial entry into the apartment abated prior to the time Delgado arrived.This last holding may have some application in a Confrontation Clause analysis too.