Detroit police, executing a search warrant for narcotics and weapons, entered petitioner Hudson's house in violation
fo the Fourth's "knock-and-announce" rule.
Saclia downplayed the violation as unworthy of exclusion, using a balance of deterrence versus societal cost. Scalia
also upplays the ineffective remedies of civil suits and internal police discipline.
Scalia also implies some silly 'inevitable discovery" excuse to allow the illegally seized evidence in. Coddling
crooked cops seems to be the ultimate consequences of the perversions from precedent of the Nixon-Burger Court. The
Court has invalidated any reason for knock-and-announce, which has been a part of common law for centuries.
Wilson vs AR (1995) serves as futilely as Wolf vs CO (1950), in which the Court agreed that the search violated the Fourth,
but refused to exclude the evidence.
Like the attempt last year to run around Miranda with MO vs Siebert, Scalia is finding excuses for the police to violate
the law, then try a second time to seize evidence.
Kennedy swings this travesty just barely. The very fact that he qualifies Scalia's downplay of the violation and
the use of exclusion only furthers my contention. He doesn't follow the Court's examples of Segura and Harris, only
Ramirez, not finding the test of a "suffient causal relationship" between the unlawful conduct and the discovery of evidence.
Kennedy obviously doesn't want to get into defining just what violation of knock-and-announce warrants exclusion.
Breyer + Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg
The opinion departs significantly from the precedents from Weeks and weakens the value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce
protection. Wilson vs AR (1995) traces the lineage of knock-and-announce back to the thirteenth century. Ther
was little doubt the Framers of the Fourth thought that the method of entry into a dwelling was among the factors considered
in assessing the reasonableness of the search and seizure. Common law "knock-and-announce forms a part of reasonableness
inquiry, so a search and seizure of a dwelling might be constitutionally defective if officers enter without prior announcement.
The exclusionary rule from Weeks made it necessary for the protection of the Fourth to be secure against illegal searches
and seizures. Silverthorne (1920) qualified the exclusionary rule if such evidence comes to light from independent and
legal sources. Mapp held that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Consitution
is, by that same authority, inadmissible in state court."
There is no evidence that civil damages deter unlawful conduct. They are expensive, time-consuming, not readily
available, and rarely successful. In precedents, the Court declined exclusion only:
1 where the rule would not appreciably deter
2 where admissible in other proceedings besides criminal trials
"Social costs" apply only to any exclusion. The majority's "substantial social costs" argument is an argument against
the exclusionary rule itself!
Other misunderstanding of the precedents:
The constituional violation was not a but-for cause. The illegal entry necessarily allowed seizure. The discovery
of evidence was a foreseeable consequence.
There is no inevitable discovery in either Silverthorne nor in Nix vs Williams (1984). Inevitable discovery Murray
(1988) requires evidence be discovered through a later lawful seizure, genuinely independent of an earlier, tainted one.
Segure (1984) had evidence discovered during a search conducted under a valid warrant; the product of that search was
wholly unrelated to prior unlawful entry.
Murray had similar occasion in which the later acquision was not the result of the earlier entry.
The warrant was ordinary, so it authorized a search that complied with, not disregarded, the Consitution's knock-and-announce
Knock-and-announce protects the individual right of privacy, not just human life, propoerty, and elements of privacy
and dignity destroyed by sudden entrance. (This reminds me of Rehnquist's nonsense in Rakas vs IL (1978) that
the defendant must own the property to suppress it.)
Interests underlying the rule do not control. The exclusionary rule protects more general privacy valued through
deterrence of futural police misconduct. James vs IL (1990).
The interest-base approach departs from prior law. Suppression cannot use causal relationships, without threatening
the workablility of exclusion. In other words, limiting exclusion by proving police deliberately violated the search
The rule does not require police to knock or announce, if police have a "reasonable suspicion" would be dangerous or
futile or would inhibit "the effective investiagtion of a crime."
States may permit a "no-knock" search warrant. If cicumstances support a reasonable suspicion of exigency, police
may go straight in. Banks
Therefore, the prosecution should have argued either for no-knock or exigence.
Segura had a warrant lawfully obtained. There was no such independent event to purge the illegal entry. The
Court refuses to apply the exclusion which impairs governmental incentive to comply with Fourth requirements.
Harris was arrested with only probable cause at home. The trial court excluded statements at home and a videotaped
interview. The Court allowed a written statement at the stationhouse, because the statement was not the fruit of where
the arrest was made.
The warrant requirement protects the home and anything incriminating gathered from the arrest by exclusion.
Ramirez doesn't help either, for the entry is unlawful. There the destruction of property occurred during a lawful
In other words, Scalia makes the excuse that such an illegal entry does not invoke exclusion because the remedy is too
severe and does not bear on the legal search.