Don't Knock Them until We Try Them: Civil Suits as a Remedy for Knock-and-Announce Violations after Hudson V. Michigan

By Papik, Jonathan | Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

Don't Knock Them until We Try Them: Civil Suits as a Remedy for Knock-and-Announce Violations after Hudson V. Michigan


Papik, Jonathan, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy


The sight of law enforcement officers knocking on a door and yelling "Police!" is more than just television drama. In fact, the idea that police should knock and announce their presence before entering is an ancient requirement that has its roots in the English common law. (1) The requirement was adopted at the time of this country's founding and has been more recently recognized as an "element of the Fourth Amendment reasonable test." (2) The Supreme Court has given content to the requirement by recognizing exceptions and outlining its parameters. (3) Until recently, however, the Court had not addressed the proper remedy for those situations in which officers do not properly knock and announce their presence. The Supreme Court ended its silence on the matter in its decision last Term in Hudson v. Michigan. (4)

Police obtained a warrant to search the home of the defendant, Booker T. Hudson. (5) Officers went to the home to execute the warrant and announced their presence; after waiting "three to five seconds," they entered the home where they found drugs and a firearm. (6) Prosecutors brought state law charges against Hudson for drug and firearm offenses. (7) Hudson moved to suppress the evidence seized inside his home, claiming that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated by the officers' failure to wait the constitutionally required time before entering his home. (8) The state trial court granted the motion. (9)

On appeal, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed, citing two Michigan Supreme Court decisions, People v. Stevens (10) and People v. Vasquez. (11) The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal, (12) and Hudson was convicted of both offenses. (13) The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, and the Michigan Supreme Court again declined to review the case. (14) The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. (15)

The Supreme Court affirmed Hudson's conviction. (16) Writing for the Court, Justice Scalia held that the exclusionary rule is not the proper remedy for "knock-and-announce" violations. (17) The opinion did not, however, overrule Court precedent regarding the constitutional nature of the knock-and-announce requirement. Rather, the Court began its analysis by noting the importance of the requirement in the common law and citing Wilson v. Arkansas, (18) which held that the knock-and-announce requirement forms part of the Fourth Amendment reasonableness inquiry. (19) Justice Scalia wrote that the rule, while required, is "not easily applied." (20) The rule is difficult to apply because the amount of time officers must wait is "necessarily vague," depending on the amount of time it would require the resident to dispose of suspected contraband. (21)

After reiterating the constitutional nature of the requirement, the Court considered whether its violation triggers the application of the exclusionary rule. It began by outlining the history of the exclusionary rule in the federal courts, tracing the evolution of the rule from "reflexive application" in Mapp v. Ohio (22) to a rejection of "its indiscriminate application" in United States v. Leon (23) and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole v. Scott. (24) In particular, precedent required that a constitutional violation must be a "but-for" cause of discovering evidence to justify suppression. (25) The instant case did not meet that standard, the Court reasoned, because officers would have seized the evidence regardless of whether they properly knocked and announced. (26)

The majority also drew upon the Court's precedents regarding attenuation, under which the exclusionary rule is inapplicable if evidence was found "by means sufficiently distinguishable to be purged of the primary taint." (27) The concept of attenuation extends, Justice Scalia wrote, to situations in which "the interest protected by the constitutional guarantee that has been violated would not be served by suppression of the evidence obtained" despite the presence of a direct causal connection.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Don't Knock Them until We Try Them: Civil Suits as a Remedy for Knock-and-Announce Violations after Hudson V. Michigan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.