Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SCOTUS and Searches

Searches, lack of a warrant, exigent circumstances. . . . I've only caught the highlights and have not read the opinion, but here's a link to the opinion in Kentucky v. King.

Police followed a suspected drug dealer to an apartment complex. Officers smelled marijuana outside an apartment door. They knocked loudly, announcing their presence. As soon as the officers began knocking, they heard noises inside the apartment. The officers thought the noises indicated that evidence was being destroyed. The officers announced they would enter the apartment. They then kicked in the door.

The Court found that the exigent-circumstances rule applies when officers do not create the exigency by engaging in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment. Assuming exigency existed here, there was no evidence that the police violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to do so.

8-to-1 opinion with Justice Ginsburg dissenting.

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