Court: Yakama Nation man's house is too small

A Yakama Nation man whose "trailer home was so small that he could open the front door while lying in his bed" was wrongly arrested by tribal police, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

Darrell Quaempts was lying in his bed when tribal police came to arrest him on rape allegations. But since the officers lacked a warrant to arrest him or search his tiny home, the court ruled that his constitutional rights under the fourth Amendment were violated.

"The Fourth Amendment�s express right to be free from warrantless arrests inside one�s home was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court a quarter century ago," the court said in a unanimous decision. "Quaempts," the court added, "was in his bed, the sanctuary of the right to privacy."

The decision means that Quaempts' statement to the police about the alleged sexual assault cannot be used in court. He had told police that the woman who made the rape charge had been at his trailer home.

Get the Decision:
US v. Quaempts (May 31, 2005)