Today David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix Defense Lawyer, talks about a recently heard case at the US Supreme Court regarding warrantless searches. At issue is the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution dealing with unreasonable searches and one exception called exigent circumstances.
This hearing revolves around a case from Kentucky in which police officers were chasing a suspect who had just sold drugs to an undercover agent and fled. The officers followed the suspect into an apartment building and became suspicious of one apartment where the smell of marijuana was present. After knocking on the door and announcing their presence as police officers they heard rustling and movement from inside the apartment. Fearing that evidence was being destroyed the officers kicked the door down and instead of finding their suspect they found Hollis King and friends smoking marijuana. King was arrested and given 11 years in prison.
The United States Constitution’s 4th Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches. Typically for a police officer to enter private property they must be issued a warrant. One exception is for ‘exigent circumstances’ where an officer suspects that a crime is being perpetrated and either someones life is at stake, the criminal may escape, or as in this case the evidence may be destroyed.
The problem here, as David Michael Cantor, points out, is that the officers created the exigent circumstance by knocking on the door. David feels that this warrantless search was not justified under the exigent circumstance clause and that the lower courts ruling needs to be upheld.
Naturally that is David’s opinion, let us know what you think.