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Bismarck warrantless entry case submitted to Supreme Court

BISMARCK—A Mandan woman is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take her case involving a police officer's warrantless entry and elements of "hot pursuit" that have dogged her DUI case.

Deanne Brekhus filed her petition to the Supreme Court in June. In March, the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed a district judge's order that a Bismarck police officer's warrantless entry into her garage as part of a DUI stop violated her Fourth Amendment rights. The court's opinion invoked the officer's continuous pursuit from his vehicle to on foot into her garage while acting on probable cause she was fleeing.

Brekhus is charged with three misdemeanor offenses, including DUI, from the night she slid into a snowbank after a Christmas party in 2016, as the officer attempted to pull her over. She made several turns before pulling into her detached garage, where the officer entered on foot and met Brekhus. He eventually arrested her.

Her attorney, Chad McCabe, said the issues at play have different opinions throughout the country. Moreover, the use of "hot pursuit" needs clarification for misdemeanor offenses, he added.

"If they take the case, the argument is that a misdemeanor is not a serious enough crime to violate one's expectation of privacy in their home," he said.

Bismarck assistant city attorney Jason Hammes said prosecution is in a holding pattern with trial postponed, pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny or grant Brekhus' petition.

"Unless (the petition) is granted, there's nothing the city does right now," he said.

Two state-level cases from North Dakota have been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court since 1992, the most recent in 2016, involving warrantless blood draws for DUI tests. North Dakota Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller said the state court doesn't "specifically track" how many cases from the state Supreme Court go to the highest court for consideration.

The U.S. Supreme Court receives about 7,000 to 8,000 cases each term for consideration. About 80 cases are granted oral arguments.

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