At the evidentiary hearing, the troopers testified that the warrantless search was performed in the interests of safety. The district court denied the motion to suppress and held that the sweep of the residence that yielded the seizure of two firearms was lawful because reasonable suspicion was not required to perform searches incident to arrest under the first prong of the Supreme Court's decision in Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990).
The Third Circuit disagreed and held that the first prong of Buie is only available when the arrest is made in the home. According to Sharrar v. Felsing, 128 F.3d 810, 824 (3d Cir. 1997), arrests that occur just outside the home must be analyzed under the second prong of the Buie analysis which requires an “articulable basis” for protective sweeps.
Since White was arrested twenty feet from his residence, the second prong of Buie is appropriate and the district court must consider on remand if there was an “articulable basis” for the protective sweep under the circumstances at that time.