Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Knock and Announce Violation Does Not Compel Suppression

Hudson v. Michigan, 04-1360 (June 15, 2006).

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court visited the issue of whether a violation of the 'knock and announce' rule demanded suppression of all evidence obtained as a result of the search, and determined that it did not.

Police obtained a warrant to search Hudson's house for drugs and weapons. They knocked and entered through the unlocked door after a few seconds, and there found the weapons and drugs in great plenty. Hudson moved to suppress the evidence seized, alleging that police violations of the 'knock and announce' rule compelled suppression of evidence under the exclusionary rule.

In a split decision, the Court determined that it did not, finding that the interests protected by the 'knock and announce' rule were not such as would compel suppression. The Court noted that a heavy social cost is represented by operation of the exclusionary rule and this was not a case that demanded suppression, which Mr. Justice Scalia, writing for the Court, said would be a bonanza for criminal litigants obtained at small cost.

It is too early to ring down the curtain on the exclusionary rule just yet, and the usual precautions must be observed-but it does seem that a mechanistic application of the exclusionary rule to an otherwise good search, for the want of a few seconds of timing is now a thing of the past.


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