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5.7x28mm is probable cause to search

An opinion from the superior court of Pennsylvania contains this line:

While outside the apartment, Police Captain Ryan Pudik saw a box of ammunition on a coffee table inside the apartment. Captain Pudik identified the ammunition as 5.7 caliber, which he knows to be armor defeating. He and other officers entered the building and conducted a sweep of the home to make sure that there was nobody hidden inside.

The commercially available ammo in the US is not armor defeating. Via reader Richard who qups: The next cop will see a Glock 7 in the window.

8 Responses to “5.7x28mm is probable cause to search”

  1. Matt Says:

    The ammunition was not the probable cause for the search warrant. The PC listed on the affadavit for the search warrant was the drug material in plain view during a sweep of the residence for possibly armed persons hiding therein that was conducted incident to arrest. The presence of the ammunition, along with officers hearing people moving about for several minutes while they were knocking, was the officer’s articulation for why he believed that sweep to be necessary. The caliber of the ammunition, or whether the officer believed at the time that it was armor defeating, is immaterial to the validity of the sweep. It would have been valid and upheld just the same had it been a box of 22 short.

  2. Karl Says:

    You’re confusing two things. Yes, the search warrant was granted based on material that was observed during a sweep of the premises. But they justified the sweep (which a layman would call a search) by the ammunition they saw when peering in through the window.

  3. Matt Says:

    @Karl Yes, the ammunition was the main driver leading to the sweep/search for dangerous persons. However, I think that simply saying the police searched the house because they saw ammunition inside is way oversimplifying the issue when that kind of decision is reached after looking at the totality of the circumstances. Where there is smoke there is fire. If you see ammunition it is reasonable to assume there is a gun. If you’re in a den full of shitheads, and let’s not fool ourselves thinking it was anything else, and they scurry around, what probably a small apartment, for several minutes before answering the door, it is not unreasonable to think one or more of said shitheads hid themselves away. So now you have possible armed shithead popping shots at you out the window while you load his buddy into a squad.
    I would not be too quick to cry foul on this one. There are plenty of cases of overreach where pointing the jackboot finger is more than appropriate. From what is available in this court opinion, I would say this probably isn’t one of them.

  4. Ben C Says:

    ” If you see ammunition it is reasonable to assume there is a gun. If youíre in a den full of shitheads, and letís not fool ourselves thinking it was anything else, and they scurry around, what probably a small apartment, for several minutes before answering the door, it is not unreasonable to think one or more of said shitheads hid themselves away”

    So if you own legal things, live in a rough neighborhood, and don’t bow down to kiss the ring of your masters fast enough when they knock on your door you have no rights?

    You don’t have to answer the door, you don’t have to have every occupant of the building line up outside for inspection of their person and their papers at the whim of every badge toting fool who happens by.

    People like you are why we can’t have nice things.

  5. nk Says:

    Cry me a river. The police went there to arrest his room-mate with arrest warrants. Several of them. They didn’t just cruise by and peek through his window.

  6. Nolan Says:

    Ah, guilt by association, that’s the ticket!

  7. Silence DoGood Says:

    Commercially-available 5.7 isn’t “armor-piercing” by the BATFE’s definition because it wasn’t purposely designed to be so but quite a lot of it will defeat soft body armor, even from the Five-seveN pistol. From the PS90’s 16-inch barrel, most anything you feed it will.

  8. TCK Says:

    Anyone still clinging to the fantasy that cops will be ‘with us’ if it all goes to shit?