The Supreme Court on Thursday decided that police can bust into your home without knocking, so long as they have a search warrant.
The vote was 5-4. The case had been argued when Sandra Day O'Connor was still on the bench, and she appeared sympathetic to the defendant's position. Once O'Connor retired, President Bush appointed Samuel Alito to take her place.
Alito was the fifth vote in Thursday's ruling.
The Associated Press reports:
Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings that officers with search warrants must knock and announce themselves or run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.
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, failed to knock, then went inside three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds.
"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.
Suppressing evidence is too high of 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 home owner a little bit and the sanctity of the home from this immediate entry?" ...
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 can now 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."
Use your brain, please.
The problem is that they want to give people a longer waiting time to do what ever - it has nothing to do with search and seizure.
In this case, the police yelled to open up - there was no response and the guys went charging in.
Lets say that this was a drug ring and the police yelled open up and had to wait 30 seconds (breyer said 20 as a pose to five). In that time criminal elements could be planning an ambush and be ready to kill those officers.
That is not a pretend scenario.
Also, you did not note that there still must be a warrant. The only part of anything this case addresses is that the police have to wait ten to twenty seconds longer. A difference which could make a life and death difference for a police officer.
Nice job with the drive by media attempt. Typical.
Talk about legislating from the bench!
Not that this law will ever effect me, but still, since we live in a country where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty and we are supposed to have some right to privacy, would it be too much to allow a person the courtesy to answer the door instead of having it blasted across the living room?
Nice use of the typical Dittohead talking points. "Drive-by media," however, is already a cliché. Learn some new ones.
As O'Connor noted when she heard the argument, police will now be more likely to bust in to execute search warrants, now that SCOTUS has ruled a knock is not necessary.
A country where police serve warrants by busting down doors does not sound like America.
Do you know any police officers? Do you know what happens in a drug bust? Do you know the precise situation?
I do. Many police officers fear for their lives. If you give a criminal those extra 10 to twenty seconds it provides them an opportunity to either dispose of evidence or more importantly - load a few bullets into their weapons - or preposition themselves to shoot on coming officers.
Then there is the obvious - the person escapes out the back door.
These are not talking points. This is the truth of the matter.
There is no destruction of anyone's rights happening. In fact, the additional ten to twenty seconds talked about is completely arbitrary when it gets right down to it.
And yes, I am sorry, but this is a case of drive by media.. shooting their mouth off without known what the devil they are talking about -typical to the last.
Hey mr. davis. I had one other thought.
Maybe if it is so evil for police to announce and not have to wait for the purp to set up an ambush maybe our legislatures should do their job and make it part of the law.
Making legislatures do their job is not a bad thing, you know.
The vast majority of drug busts do not involve guns or ambushes of officers. You are using a typical conservative scare tactic. Busting into a home is a home invasion and now when police make mistakes and raid the wrong address..people will die defending their homes...nice move
Tee hee! Chatter's got dittohead trolls! And they really need to learn English.
You think Shak.
Ever thought for a moment that you and Mr. Davis are using scare tactics?
Naw, say it isnt so!
@doc: Engaging in responsive thought isn't being trollish. I could be if you wanted me to be.
"I do. Many police officers fear for their lives. If you give a criminal those extra 10 to twenty seconds it provides them an opportunity to either dispose of evidence or more importantly - load a few bullets into their weapons - or preposition themselves to shoot on coming officers.
Then there is the obvious - the person escapes out the back door."
Anon: You are saying that the cops are incompetent? Or stupid? Or both? And need to employ some gestapo tactics to do thier job? Do your friends know you think so little of them?
For a raid the police close off all exits before the even approach the front door....I have seen the SGFD PD in action in my hood on numerous occassions...they are not as stupid as the conservative suggests....
That anon neocon dittohead troll must be the loudmouth Canadian-German talker. Phrasing gives it away. That and the lack of logic.
Knock and announce guards the privacy we traditionally associate with our homes. It permits us to wrap a towel around ourselves, cease engaging in sexual activity, wipe the chocolate from our chins, or flush the toilet before we answer the door. It protects us from mistakes, such as when an officer has the wrong address. These things are not small matters -- it only seems so when we talk in terms of "purps" (surely you mean "perps"?) instead of people or, even innocent people (a warrant is not proof of guilt).
Moreover, if you read the knock and announce caselaw (as I am sure you do not have time to do, as you apparently log so many hours accompanying police on raids), you would see that the time the police must give you to put on a clean shirt is minimal; no time to load up, I'm afraid.
Basic dignity is not too much to ask, for anyone. How easy and dangerous it is to give up our rights when we believe it's only happening to those we consider to be less than people.
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