White v. Stanley, No. 13-2131 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Deputy Stanley pulled over Hille for an expired vehicle registration sticker. The Secretary of State’s record was different than the date on the sticker. Stanley was unable to resolve the discrepancy at that time and let Hille go. The Secretary of State’s office later notified her that the sticker was stolen. Possession of a stolen sticker is a felony in Illinois. Stanley proceeded to Hille’s registered address to arrest her, arranging for Deputy Morrison to meet her there. The deputies knocked on the door. Iit was answered by White, Hille’s boyfriend, who owned and lived in the house. White refused to allow them entry without a warrant. Stanley and Morrison claim to have smelled burning marijuana from inside the house. Hille had been smoking marijuana and was later found in the house with a half‐burned joint. White attempted to close the door and retreated into the house and up the stairs. Stanley blocked the door. The deputies tackled him on the stairs. Morrison forced White’s arm behind his back and told White to stop resisting. White claims to have suffered a shoulder injury. The deputies arrested White for resisting or obstructing a peace officer, a charge later dismissed. White filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 suit, claiming false arrest and excessive force. The court found that there was no exigency and that the deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity because they violated a clearly established right. The Seventh Circuit reversed, noting “fractured case law” concerning entry after smelling marijuana.