City of Kent v. Jenkins

Court: Washington Supreme Court
Case No.: 98622-3
Hearing Date: 

Case Description: Police did not have a warrant to enter Mr. Jenkins’ home, but the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement applied. Police demanded that Mr. Jenkins let them into his home. Mr. Jenkins refused to open his door. He did not actively seek to prevent the officers from opening the door and did not stand in their way once they entered; he simply declined to consent to open his door to the police in the absence of a warrant. Mr. Jenkins was subsequently arrested and charged with obstructing. Mr. Jenkins was convicted at the trial level and moved for discretionary review in the Supreme Court of Washington. The Court granted review. The City of Kent conceded that Mr. Jenkins should not have been convicted. Mr. Jenkins asked the court to still consider the issue of whether a person can be charged with obstructing for failing to open their door to police when police do not have a warrant.

Amicus Description: While Mr. Jenkins is a citizen, his case will impact noncitizens. Amici explain three ways the lack of a clear rule about when people must open their door to police harms noncitizens.  First, the lack of a clear rule makes it difficult to impossible for organizations seeking to advocate for and educate noncitizens to provide know your rights publications and presentations that address when a person must open their door to police. Second, the lack of a clear rule leads to distrust of police among noncitizens. Third, The lack of a clear rule increases the chances a noncitizen will have contact with law enforcement, which could have immigration consequences.