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Hudson v. Michigan and Forced Entry

NCJ Number
Tactical Response Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Dated: March-April 2007 Pages: 96-99
Susan Geoghegan
Date Published
March 2007
4 pages
This article examines issues pertinent to the knock-and-announce rule, which requires police to knock and announce their presence and then wait a short period for an occupant to voluntarily open the door before forced entry in order to execute a search warrant, with attention to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Hudson v. Michigan (June 2006), which held that evidence obtained in violation of the knock-and-announce rule may be admissible.
At issue in the Hudson case was whether evidence of Hudson's illegal possession of cocaine with intent to deliver as well as the illegal possession of a firearm should be suppressed under the exclusionary rule because the police did not knock and wait prior to forced entry into Hudson' residence for the purpose of executing a legal search warrant. In a five-four decision, the Supreme Court noted that the interest protected under the exclusionary rule differed from the interests protected by the knock-and-announce rule. This is because the latter rule applies to evidence obtained with a search warrant, which means it is not necessarily held to the same standards of the exclusionary rule that pertain to warrantless searches. Critics of this decision have argued that it has weakened police motivation to adhere to the knock-and-announce rule; however, circumstances have not changed significantly under the Hudson decision. Prior to "Hudson," police could enter without knocking if they reasonably believed they would be placing themselves or others in danger by doing so. Also, there are deterrents to police violations of the knock-and-announce rule, including the threat of civil liability attached to police forced entries in violation of the knock-and-announce rule, and the risk of escalation toward violence in response to a surprise forced entry.