Police don't have to knock, justices say

El_KabongEl_Kabong Posts: 4,141
edited June 2006 in A Moving Train
didn't see much of this since it happened last week...the supreme court ruled the police do NOT have to knock first! good thing alito and roberts were there to vote in favor of it since the supreme court has routinely voted against it

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/15/supremecourt/main1715081.shtml?source=RSS&attr=Politics_1715081

Police don't have to knock, justices say
Alito's vote breaks 4-4 tie in police search case

CBS/AP) The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock, a huge government victory that was decided by President Bush's new justices.

The 5-4 ruling signals the court's conservative shift following the departure of moderate Sandra Day O'Connor.

The case tested previous court rulings that police armed with warrants generally must knock and announce themselves or they run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

"The Supreme Court has been gradually upgrading police search powers," CBS News correspondent Barry Bagnato says. "This is another step in that direction."

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man's door then went inside three seconds to five seconds later.

"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," Scalia wrote.

But suppressing evidence is too high a penalty, Scalia said, for errors by police in failing to properly announce themselves.

The outcome might have been different if O'Connor were still on the bench. She seemed ready, when the case was first argued in January, to rule in favor of Booker Hudson, whose house was searched in 1998.

O'Connor had worried aloud that officers around the country might start bursting into homes to execute search warrants. She asked: "Is there no policy of protecting the homeowner a little bit and the sanctity of the home from this immediate entry?"

She retired before the case was decided, and a new argument was held so that Justice Samuel Alito could participate in deliberations. Alito and Bush's other Supreme Court pick, Chief Justice John Roberts, both supported Scalia's opinion.

Hudson's 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.

In a dissent, four justices complained that the decision erases more than 90 years of Supreme Court precedent.

"It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and the three other liberal members.

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 most of 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."
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Comments

  • know1know1 Posts: 6,554
    If they've got a search warrant that states the explicit evidence they are searching for, I really don't see this as a big deal. They also shouted out "Police! Search Warrant!" and waited several seconds before entering. That's good enough for me
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  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    know1 wrote:
    If they've got a search warrant that states the explicit evidence they are searching for, I really don't see this as a big deal. They also shouted out "Police! Search Warrant!" and waited several seconds before entering. That's good enough for me

    exactly, if the police have the warrant in hand that means they have reason to enter the house b/c something illegal is most likely occurring there. It's not like the cops can just walk up and in to any persons house without knocking.
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  • CollinCollin Posts: 4,932
    know1 wrote:
    If they've got a search warrant that states the explicit evidence they are searching for, I really don't see this as a big deal. They also shouted out "Police! Search Warrant!" and waited several seconds before entering. That's good enough for me

    "People have the right to answer the door in a dignified manner," Hudson's lawyer David Moran had told the high court. The justices have ruled in the past that police should announce their presence, then normally wait 15 to 20 seconds before bursting into a home.


    "It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," concluded Breyer, who said he fears police will now feel free to routinely violate the knocking and waiting requirements, knowing they might not be punished for it.
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  • I find it quite funny that a knock on the door is considered the fine line between a reasonable search and an unreasonable search.
  • know1know1 Posts: 6,554
    They've already gone to the trouble of getting a judge to sign a warrant, so are a simple knock and the extra 10 seconds really that important?
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    El_Kabong wrote:
    didn't see much of this since it happened last week...the supreme court ruled the police do NOT have to knock first! good thing alito and roberts were there to vote in favor of it since the supreme court has routinely voted against it

    Yes, and with those 2 justices who are very big on precedent could it be possible there was a legitimate reason for their voting the way they did?
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  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    Collin wrote:
    "People have the right to answer the door in a dignified manner," Hudson's lawyer David Moran had told the high court. The justices have ruled in the past that police should announce their presence, then normally wait 15 to 20 seconds before bursting into a home.


    "It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," concluded Breyer, who said he fears police will now feel free to routinely violate the knocking and waiting requirements, knowing they might not be punished for it.

    I'm all for protecting the accused but if there is a WARRANT in hand that implies due process has been followed...knock the door down or just go on in... and i think justice kennedy hit it on the head "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."
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  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    know1 wrote:
    They've already gone to the trouble of getting a judge to sign a warrant, so are a simple knock and the extra 10 seconds really that important?

    well yeah it is...it could be a long way to the bathroom to flush the drugs... those 10 seconds could be huge ;)
    make sure the fortune that you seek...is the fortune that you need
  • El_KabongEl_Kabong Posts: 4,141
    know1 wrote:
    They've already gone to the trouble of getting a judge to sign a warrant, so are a simple knock and the extra 10 seconds really that important?
    chopitdown wrote:
    I'm all for protecting the accused but if there is a WARRANT in hand that implies due process has been followed...knock the door down or just go on in... and i think justice kennedy hit it on the head "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."



    you do realize that it was changed during the reagan administration that all you need for a warrant is an anonymous tip?

    'The U.S. Supreme Court has relaxed criteria for securing search warrants, creating what Robert W. Sweet called the "drug exception to the Fourth Amendment" ("The War on Drugs Is Lost" (a symposium), National Review, February 12, 1996). Issuance of search warrants is now permitted based on anonymous tips and even on tips from informants who are known to be corrupt and unreliable. Evidence obtained under defective search warrants has been upheld if officers executing the warrant were deemed to have acted in "good faith." Warrantless searches of fields, barns, automobiles, and private property near residences are permitted, as well as warrantless use of narcotics-sniffing dogs and unrestricted searches of watercraft on inland waterways and on the high seas. Authorities can also sift through citizens' trash without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court's docket includes consideration of whether police will be allowed to enter without knocking when they have a search warrant for drugs.'
    standin above the crowd
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  • rightonduderightondude Posts: 745
    How do you even know they have a search warrant in the first place? Are you guys insane?

    So you're just sitting there one day and CRASH goes your front door and a bunch of cops rush the place with guns? whoever thinks that is totally cool is crazy.

    That should never happen.
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    El_Kabong wrote:
    you do realize that it was changed during the reagan administration that all you need for a warrant is an anonymous tip?

    'The U.S. Supreme Court has relaxed criteria for securing search warrants, creating what Robert W. Sweet called the "drug exception to the Fourth Amendment" ("The War on Drugs Is Lost" (a symposium), National Review, February 12, 1996). Issuance of search warrants is now permitted based on anonymous tips and even on tips from informants who are known to be corrupt and unreliable. Evidence obtained under defective search warrants has been upheld if officers executing the warrant were deemed to have acted in "good faith." Warrantless searches of fields, barns, automobiles, and private property near residences are permitted, as well as warrantless use of narcotics-sniffing dogs and unrestricted searches of watercraft on inland waterways and on the high seas. Authorities can also sift through citizens' trash without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court's docket includes consideration of whether police will be allowed to enter without knocking when they have a search warrant for drugs.'

    I didn't know that...but lets me honest here. Do you truly believe that a warrant is issued for every anonymous tip given? Do you also think that cops are going to stop knocking and just walk in every time? I think you sell cops a little short if you think that. I think this decision gives police the ability to do their job a little better. If there is a serious situation they need to investigate they can now investigate it a little bit quicker w/o having to speak and wait and knock. It allows a little more room for judgement calls that police can make.
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  • know1know1 Posts: 6,554
    El_Kabong wrote:
    you do realize that it was changed during the reagan administration that all you need for a warrant is an anonymous tip?

    You need a judge to grant one. Whatever criteria they use as a judge is fine by me.
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
  • El_KabongEl_Kabong Posts: 4,141
    know1 wrote:
    You need a judge to grant one. Whatever criteria they use as a judge is fine by me.


    ah, so if you agree w/ the judge anything is ok...when you disagree suddenly they are 'activist judges' trying to 'legislate and push their idealogy from the bench'?? ok, i got it
    standin above the crowd
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    someone prepared to lead the way
  • know1know1 Posts: 6,554
    El_Kabong wrote:
    ah, so if you agree w/ the judge anything is ok...when you disagree suddenly they are 'activist judges' trying to 'legislate and push their idealogy from the bench'?? ok, i got it

    Not sure where you dreamed up that connection as I've not said anything like that, but the thing is that a judge is elected to weigh evidence and make suggestions. If they feel that a warrant is warranted, then that's good enough for me.
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
  • know1 wrote:
    Not sure where you dreamed up that connection as I've not said anything like that, but the thing is that a judge is elected to weigh evidence and make suggestions. If they feel that a warrant is warranted, then that's good enough for me.

    you may not have personally said anything about 'activist judges' but it was quite the topic last summer.
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  • 1970RR1970RR Posts: 281
    This case does not alter the fact that, currently, police must announce themselves prior to entering a residence. What this case does is eliminate the only real method of enforcing it, which was the exclusion of any evidence found. So essentially what the SCOTUS has said is that the requirement for police to announce themselves is the law of the land, but they just arent very interested in seeing it enforced.

    I believe the reasoning for police announcing themselves is to reduce violence and property damage during raids, which are occurring more & more often with the increasing use of militarized SWAT teams to prosecute the "War on Drugs".

    Its understandable that any homeowner might mistake police for intruders when crashing in unannounced in the middle of the night, the problem is that it increases risk for death or injury for all involved.
  • there are situations where alerting occupants could endanger the lives of the officers serving the warrant, therefore, i find this decision to be a good one.
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  • catefrancescatefrances Posts: 29,003
    there are situations where alerting occupants could endanger the lives of the officers serving the warrant, therefore, i find this decision to be a good one.

    yeah. and what happens if i'm half asleep when someone i don't know comes crashing through my door and i think i'm under attack and shoot the bastard?
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  • yeah. and what happens if i'm half asleep when someone i don't know comes crashing through my door and i think i'm under attack and shoot the bastard?


    death penalty
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  • moeaholicmoeaholic Posts: 536
    yeah. and what happens if i'm half asleep when someone i don't know comes crashing through my door and i think i'm under attack and shoot the bastard?

    you won't have to worry about it, seeing as you're in sydney.

    i don't have a problem with this. i'm pretty confident that my door won't be busted down.
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  • MLC2006MLC2006 Posts: 861
    1970RR wrote:
    I believe the reasoning for police announcing themselves is to reduce violence and property damage during raids, which are occurring more & more often with the increasing use of militarized SWAT teams to prosecute the "War on Drugs".

    Its understandable that any homeowner might mistake police for intruders when crashing in unannounced in the middle of the night, the problem is that it increases risk for death or injury for all involved.

    how many warrants have you served? I've served hundreds, mostly in the middle of the night. that 15 seconds that you give someone is 15 seconds that they have to destroy evidence or run, or worst of all, hide and arm themselves. so to say that unannounced entry increases risk of death or injury for all involved is absolutely false. it also cuts down on the chances that uninvolved 3rd parties inside the residence will have the opportunity to work up a lie to tell officers, thus stirring up new criminal charges.
  • AbuskedtiAbuskedti Posts: 1,915
    I am sure there are times when barging in without knocking is warranted. This leaves it to the discretion of the police officers. There will be errors. and law suits.

    Too bad the government leave so much to the discretion of these public servants, but doesn't see fit to fund their training or compensation commensurate with the expectation of performance.
  • AbuskedtiAbuskedti Posts: 1,915
    MLC2006 wrote:
    how many warrants have you served? I've served hundreds, mostly in the middle of the night. that 15 seconds that you give someone is 15 seconds that they have to destroy evidence or run, or worst of all, hide and arm themselves. so to say that unannounced entry increases risk of death or injury for all involved is absolutely false. it also cuts down on the chances that uninvolved 3rd parties inside the residence will have the opportunity to work up a lie to tell officers, thus stirring up new criminal charges.

    good points.. nice to see an expert chime in. Thanks
  • yeah. and what happens if i'm half asleep when someone i don't know comes crashing through my door and i think i'm under attack and shoot the bastard?

    you have the undeniable right to use deadly force when someone enters your home uninvited...in that situation - nothing happens unless it is found that you came to know that the people (or person) in your house was a law enforcement officer...then you are charged with murder...
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  • death penalty

    that is a stunningly broad stroke. think self-defense...and defending your home...there would have to be some extremely exacerbating circumstances to warrant any sort of conviction in that situation.
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  • keeponrockinkeeponrockin Posts: 7,445
    MLC2006 wrote:
    how many warrants have you served? I've served hundreds, mostly in the middle of the night. that 15 seconds that you give someone is 15 seconds that they have to destroy evidence or run, or worst of all, hide and arm themselves. so to say that unannounced entry increases risk of death or injury for all involved is absolutely false. it also cuts down on the chances that uninvolved 3rd parties inside the residence will have the opportunity to work up a lie to tell officers, thus stirring up new criminal charges.

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  • MLC2006MLC2006 Posts: 861
    Hail Hail MLC2006!

    huh?
  • MLC2006MLC2006 Posts: 861
    you have the undeniable right to use deadly force when someone enters your home uninvited...in that situation - nothing happens unless it is found that you came to know that the people (or person) in your house was a law enforcement officer...then you are charged with murder...

    there is no such 'undeniable right' that I know of. to say 'undeniable' if I understand correctly, would be to say that you can't be prosecuted, and I know for sure that this is not the case, at least if probable cause can be shown that you killed someone for a reason other than SELF defense (not property defense). in the case of someone killing an officer serving a warrant, there would be PLENTY of probable cause to prove motive beyond self defense.
  • El_KabongEl_Kabong Posts: 4,141
    yeah. and what happens if i'm half asleep when someone i don't know comes crashing through my door and i think i'm under attack and shoot the bastard?

    try asking fred hampton ;)


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hampton#The_raid
    standin above the crowd
    he had a voice that was strong and loud and
    i swallowed his facade cos i'm so
    eager to identify with
    someone above the crowd
    someone who seemed to feel the same
    someone prepared to lead the way
  • miller8966miller8966 Posts: 1,452
    The knock procedure is stupid.

    "Ok were here,make sure you hide the illegal stuff before we come in".
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