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Posted: 1/14/2006 3:43:28 PM EDT
When Police Won't Play 'Knock, Knock'
Las Vegas Review-Journal

A little more than two years ago, in a case out of North Las Vegas, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was OK for police to wait as little as 20 seconds between the time they knocked on a door to announce themselves and the time their battering ram took down the door.

Lashawn Banks of North Las Vegas was taking a shower on July 15, 1998, when masked and heavily armed officers used a battering ram to break into his apartment to look for drugs. Officers found 11 ounces of crack cocaine and three firearms during their search. Thats a lot of crack for a low level street dealer

In March 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the drugs found in Banks' home should not have been used as evidence because police did not wait "a reasonable time" for Banks to respond to police demands for entrance. The 9th Circuit relied on high court rulings as recent as 1997 that held police must knock and announce themselves unless they have reason to believe a suspect presents a danger or might destroy evidence.

But in 2003 - continuing the erosion of the Fourth Amendment's protections under the rubric of the "War on Drugs" - the high court opted to overrule the 9th Circuit in the Banks case, holding a 20-second delay was ample because more time might give drug suspects time to flush evidence down the toilet.

Now, the court is being asked to allow police to wait no time at all.

Also back in 1998, Detroit police did not bother knocking on Booker Hudson's door when they arrived with a warrant to search for drugs. Police say they shouted that they had a warrant and broke in 3 to 5 seconds later. Police found crack cocaine

In this new case addressing the same question, the Supreme Court debated Monday whether those drugs can be used as evidence against Hudson because officers were wrong in giving Hudson no time to come to the door. They gave him 3-5 seconds

Retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who may or may not vote in the final decision, seemed ready to rule against police, pointing out that the Detroit officer testified he routinely went into houses without knocking. She predicted that policy would be adopted by "every police officer in America" if the court levied no penalty.

It's commonly argued that only the guilty need more time to answer the door; the innocent have "nothing to fear." But the court already allows police to explain to a judge the "special circumstances" that require a (presumably rare) "no-knock" warrant. The question here is whether police should, in effect, be allowed to turn the service of every warrant into a three-step process in which they break down the door unannounced, race into the house and hold all occupants at gunpoint, and then shout, "Police! Warrant!" The "normalization" of that procedure certainly could hurt the innocent.

Upon opening the door and being given a chance to peruse a warrant, an innocent person might, at least in theory, have a chance to point out the address on the warrant does not match these premises. There are numerous jurisdictions in this country (simply Google "home invaders impersonating police") where outlaw home invaders have taken to yelling, "Police! Warrant!" in hopes of freezing their victims into inactivity long enough to disarm them. Rape and robbery can then proceed with less risk to the perpetrators.

There are thus places in this country where it is not an irrational response for the head of the household to grab his firearm when armed strangers dressed in black break down his door unannounced in the middle of the night. Unnecessary deaths have been known to result.

These are the murky waters into which the high court will lower us, should the justices hold that breaking down doors without giving the occupants a chance to peacefully respond should now become "standard operating procedure."

No, officers should not be required to stand around watching the minute hands of their watches if they hear the screams of hostages being executed behind a closed door. Or hear guns being loaded, footsteps running away from the door, bathroom door being slammed closed followed by running water... But in most cases, the time to plead special circumstances is when the search warrant is being requested.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 3:47:40 PM EDT

the innocent have "nothing to fear."


OMG I'm sick of hearing this one. This is less and less true evey day as now everyone is a criminal for something.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 3:51:55 PM EDT
YAWN! So the State gives the go ahead for more BS thanks to the so-called 'war on drugs' tell me something i dont know. I gave up on this BS a long time ago, now I'm just wating for everyone else to come around. Maybe they can do it between watching American idol and entertainment tonight.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 3:52:14 PM EDT
Yes, I'd LOVE to give Jimmy Crackhead or Biker Bob a full minute to dump a mag thru the door/window and then reload.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 3:53:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By geerhed:

the innocent have "nothing to fear."


OMG I'm sick of hearing this one. This is less and less true evey day as now everyone is a criminal for something.






Once again ignorance raises it's ugly head again. Search warrants are not for people period! It's for evidence, simple.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 3:57:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:
Yes, I'd LOVE to give Jimmy Crackhead or Biker Bob a full minute to dump a mag thru the door/window and then reload.



Nobody is saying you have to wait outside after he starts shooting. They are just saying you have to wait long enough for him to find and load his gun while his girlfriend flushes the dope and his brother barracaides the door.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:04:09 PM EDT
So what if some woman is taking a fucking shower and needs to get dressed? If you are raiding a fucking biker gang hidout then get the special warrant. Its not that hard.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:08:02 PM EDT
It is amazing how everyday the courts make it harder to do our job. And everyone wonders why we can't do more. Between that and judges letting everyone walk it is trying. But I still love the job. No one asks CPA's or computer programmers to tell them cool stories about their job!! :)
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:08:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
So what if some woman is taking a fucking shower and needs to get dressed?



Well a reasonable response would be for her to shout "I'm in the shower, give me a minute and I'll be write there!" At which point the cops would give her more time.

Keep in mind if the cops have a warrant then the judge has already decided there is probable cause to believe the cops will find what they are searching for. It's not like its your mom's house.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:22:31 PM EDT
More times than not it may be their mom's house because those dirtbags don't have a place of thier own.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:31:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
So what if some woman is taking a fucking shower and needs to get dressed?



Well a reasonable response would be for her to shout "I'm in the shower, give me a minute and I'll be write there!" At which point the cops would give her more time.

Keep in mind if the cops have a warrant then the judge has already decided there is probable cause to believe the cops will find what they are searching for. It's not like its your mom's house.





Hopefully I think most police officers would excersize good judgement here. But I wonder how many would say "She's probably flushing her dope down the toilet! Cavity search that criminial!"

maybe not many, but thats why I am always suspicious about these things, because one is too many, and I'd rather 1000 crack-heads get away with smoking their dope then for one woman to be disrespected and violated, or one officer or home owner die because they kick the door down and the guy thinks its a home invasion.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:32:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By charliehorse794:
More times than not it may be their mom's house because those dirtbags don't have a place of thier own.




good point

Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:33:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
So what if some woman is taking a fucking shower and needs to get dressed?



Well a reasonable response would be for her to shout "I'm in the shower, give me a minute and I'll be write there!" At which point the cops would give her more time.



Good one!


Keep in mind if the cops have a warrant then the judge has already decided there is probable cause to believe the cops will find what they are searching for. It's not like its your mom's house.


Unless the warrant is for the same address on the next street over from your mom's, and they are too fucking stupid or rushed to get to the right house, in which case it is your mom's house. Or perhaps the BG moved out and your mom moved in during the ten days the warrant was valid, in which case it is your mom's house.

Unless there is a hostage in the premises, knock-and-announce should never be waived. If it is feared that the occupants are armed and inclined to violent resistance, the announcement can be delivered via loudspeaker. If it is feared that the occupants will succeed in destroying the evidence if the police knock and announce, the game is not worth the candle.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:48:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
Unless there is a hostage in the premises, knock-and-announce should never be waived.



The debate in the court is not about waiving the knock and notice requirement. its to clarify how long the cops must wait after meeting the knock and notice requirement.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 4:57:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
Unless there is a hostage in the premises, knock-and-announce should never be waived.



The debate in the court is not about waiving the knock and notice requirement. its to clarify how long the cops must wait after meeting the knock and notice requirement.



When you're in the range of 3 - 5 seconds, you're talking about abolition. It takes 12 seconds at a brisk clip to get from the computer to the front door in my house. "Knock-Police-Search Warrant-one mississippitwomississippithreemississippi-Crash! no more meets the requirement than knocking with a battering ram while announcing would.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:46:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
Or perhaps the BG moved out and your mom moved in during the ten days the warrant was valid

- 10 days? Damn, we only have 24 hours to act on our warrants
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:49:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
Or perhaps the BG moved out and your mom moved in during the ten days the warrant was valid

- 10 days? Damn, we only have 24 hours to act on our warrants



10 days is standard here, although I suspect the actual limit (law, not agency policy) is determined by "staleness."
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:57:01 PM EDT
All this is brought on by the "WAR ON DRUGS" Enough allready! The laws and police CREATED this class of criminal and WE have to pay the price with our rights being diminished. I am sick and tired of the cops spending ALL THEIR TIME on drugs. The fact that it is illegal is what fuels all of this crap.

STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS
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