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Knock and Announce Violations: No "Cause" to Suppress

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 75 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2006 Pages: 25-32
Richard G. Schott J.D.
Date Published
September 2006
8 pages
This article reviews the evolution of the knock-and-announce requirements of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, discusses the principles of the exclusionary rule and inevitable discovery, and analyzes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Hudson v. Michigan (2006) in the context of the aforementioned doctrines.
The fourth amendment establishes people's right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Having a search warrant means that a judge has determined that a particular search is reasonable; however, the execution of the warrant must also be reasonable. This requires that officers with a search warrant knock and announce their presence and intent to execute a search warrant. This requirement provides homeowners the opportunity to comply with the warrant prior to a forceful entry that may damage the owner's property. In the case of Hudson v. Michigan, the officers executing a warrant waited only 3 to 5 seconds before forcing entry after they shouted "police, search warrant." The trial court held that this was a violation of the intent of the knock-and-announce rule and warranted suppression of the evidence obtained in the subsequent search under the exclusionary rule. Michigan State appellate courts overruled the trial court, stating in effect that having a valid warrant keeps evidence obtained under the warrant in play even if the warrant is not properly executed by violating the knock-and-announce rule. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this ruling, countering Hudson's argument that the deterrent effect of the exclusionary rule was undermined by arguing that the threat of civil liability against the officers and the agency, along with possible departmental discipline of the officers was sufficient deterrence. 51 notes