Supreme Court upholds police evidence in searches without knocking
By GINA HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police can use evidence collected with a warrant even if officers fail to knock before rushing into a home.
Justice Samuel Alito broke a 4-4 tie in siding with Detroit police, who called out their presence at a mans door then went inside three to five seconds later.
The case had tested previous court rulings that police armed with warrants generally must knock and announce themselves or they run afoul of the Constitutions Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house.
The court did not say how long police officers must wait after knocking before they enter a home to execute a search warrant.
Suppressing evidence is too high of a penalty, Scalia said, for errors in police searches.
The outcome might have been different if Justice Sandra Day OConnor was still on the bench. She seemed ready, when the case was first argued in January, to rule in favor Booker Hudson, whose house was searched in 1998.
She retired before the case was decided, and a new argument was held so Alito could participate in deliberations.
Hudsons lawyers argued that evidence against him was connected to the improper search and could not be used against him.
Scalia said that a victory for Hudson would have given a get-out-of-jail-free card to him and others.
It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitutions knock-and-announce protection, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and the three other liberal justices.
Breyer said that police will feel free to enter homes without knocking and waiting a short time if they know that there is no punishment for it.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate, joined the conservatives in the ruling. He wrote his own opinion, however, to say it bears repeating that it is a serious matter if law enforcement officers violate the sanctity of the home by ignoring the requisites of lawful entry.
Not that writers should know how to write or anything.
Good thing old Sandra Dee is GONE!
Bush legacy BUMP.
Wow, I looked and just can't seem to find the phrase "knock and announce" in the Fourth Amendment. Mr. Breyer, would you be so kind as to point it out for me? Oh, guess not.
I'm not really a big law enforcement kinda guy, but where is the "knock and announce" protection in the Constitution? Something the SCOTUS invented along the way? I guess they've had to decide what is "unreasonable." I don't really get what the difference is if you knock or not, if you have a warrant. It might give me time to flush some drugs down the toilet, but how does it provide me any greater rights? They've got a warrant. I don't get it.
Nothing new there.
"Knock, knock this is the police with warrent to search for drugs. If you have any you have 5 seconds to get rid of it."
If they've got enough probable cause to get a warrant, why give the alleged perps enough warning to get rid of any evidence? Actually, I'm po'ed that it was 5-4. This seems like a legal no-brainer to me.
Obviously, they don't have to wait at all.
Evidence is not "fruit."
Police investigations are not "trees."
Police errors are not "poisons."
There are better ways to punish overly aggressive cops than by throwing out evidence and letting criminals go free.
The Exclusionary Rule was invented by liberal, activist judges who always side with defendants and against the community's interest in justice and security.
Time to wave it bye-bye.
I would like to see an entire national re-write of the laws and the "court" findings with respect to evidence and how it is obtained.
I would like to separate the applicability of the evidence - it's either factually correct or it isn't - from any error in obtaining the evidence, and any legal repurcusions of any such error.
There should be repurcusions for injury to our rights in the process of obtaining evidence but those repurcusions should not hide the facts, the evidence. Maybe someone should be fired, demoted, reprimanded, receive loss of pay and maybe even face civil suit by wrongfully accused persons. But, meanwhile, don't throw out the baby (facts) with the bathwater (evidence).
I think the dismissal of evidence, no matter how obtained is nothing other than an act of compounding errors; adding an error (letting the guilty go free) to whatever error may have occured in obtaining the "evidence". I do not think the second error represents "justice" in any form.
Time to turn in the old grow lights, I guess, and just go and have a tryst in the closest cave.
About once a month my police officer friend is on a task force that, by anonymous tip, goes to residences, knocks on the door, tells the occupants that suspicious illegal activity has been reported, could they come in?...9 times out of 10 they're allowed in with their drug dogs and 9 times out of 10 there are arrests, not always for drugs.