Hudson v. Michigan 547 U.S. 586; 126 S. Ct. 2159, 165 L. Ed.2d 56 (2006)
The police went to Hudson's
home with a valid search warrant to
look for drugs and guns.
The police officer knocked on
the door, said, "Police! Search Warrant" and then waited 2-5 seconds
before entering Hudson's house.
Inside they found Hudson,
other people, and a bunch of drugs and guns.
Hudson was arrested and
charged with drug possession.
At trial, Hudson argued that
the police violated the knock-and-announce requirement, and therefore all evidence stemming from the search
warrant should be inadmissible.
requirement goes way back to English common law and says that the police
must announce their presence and wait a reasonable amount of time for the
homeowner to open the door before breaking it down.
See Semayne's Case (5 Co. Rep. 91a, 91b, 77 Eng. Rep. 194, 195
(K. B. 1603)), which says, "before he breaks it, he ought to
signify the cause of his coming, and to make request to open doors, for
the law without a default in the owner abhors the destruction or
breaking of any house (which is for the habitation and safety of man) by
which great damage and inconvenience might ensue to the party, when no
default is in him; for perhaps he did not know of the process, of which,
if he had notice, it is to be presumed that he would obey it."
There are exceptions to the
including situations where the police have reason to believe that
evidence is being destroyed, that someone is in physical danger, or if
it would be futile because no one is home.
The prosecutor admitted that
the police failed to follow the knock-and-announce requirement.
The Trial Judge granted the
motion to suppress. The prosecution appealed.
The Appellate Court reversed
the motion to suppress.
The Appellate Court relied
on several Michigan Supreme Court cases which said that suppression is
inappropriate when entry is made pursuant to warrant but without proper knock-and-announce.
The Trial Court found Hudson
guilty of drug possession. He appealed.
The US Supreme Court affirmed
the Appellate Court and found that the evidence was admissible.
The US Supreme Court found
that the exclusionary rule is not
appropriate for violations of the knock-and-announce requirement.
The Court found that the
exclusionary rule is designed to protect the 4th Amendment right against illegal search and seizure.
The knock-and-announce requirement has nothing to do with the right
of privacy, instead, it protect police officers from surprised residents
retaliating in presumed self-defense, to protect private property from
damage, and to protect the "privacy and dignity" of residents.
Basically, it is supposed
to give you time to put your pants on if the police come to your door.
The knock-and-announce rule is not designed to protect evidence.
Doctrine says that if there is
evidence found way down the line from illegally excluded evidence, it
can still be admissible and doesn't have to be excluded as "fruit
of the poisonous tree." In this case, the Court extended the Attenuation
Doctrine to cover procedural
In a dissent it was argued
that the exclusionary rule is the
main deterrent to stop illegal police behavior. If the police know that
the evidence will not be excluded, what is their incentive to comply with
The Court suggested that
other deterrent mechanisms, like civil lawsuits, are available.
The dissent noted that the
police can get a no-knock warrant
if they show cause. So why not make them?