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4th Amendment case law

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by msu_grad_121, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. There was a similar case locally recently. A neighbor had called about smelling marijuana and the leos went to investigate. The door was ajar and the officers walked in and found the son smoking weed in his room with a window open. They looked around in plain sight and found scales and bags of weed for sale. He is in jail right now on the charge. I think it would depend on good faith and the judge's opinions in your county. If you are acting in good faith and under the scope of authority of your job I don't think you would get jammed up on that at all. I think it would stick as a valid charge. This arrest was after the suspect opened the door and let them in voluntarily so this would not be the same as MSU is describing. Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  2. Sharky7

    Sharky7 Boomshakalaka

    Feb 21, 2009
    With only a door being open after knocking, I would also say not to enter.

    Nothing wrong with putting someone on the back door and front door - then attempting to contact the homeowners. Try using phone numbers for prior calls for service or case reports.

    Next, contact neighbors. If you get a hold of a neighbor and they say the people are on vacation and always lock their door - now you got something.

    Or, if you look inside the windows of the home and see someone in need of help or signs of a residential burglary.

    I just don't see any exigency to enter right away without at least taking a few steps to figure out what is going on first.

  3. txleapd

    txleapd Hook 'Em Up

    Aug 27, 2004
    Your opinion flies in the face of every bit of case law I've ever seen, and it is wrong.

    There are very few exceptions to the warrant requirement of the 4A, especially when you're taking about a residence.

    Minus exigency in some form, that would not stand.

    As for the example you just gave about the kid smoking weed, that won't stand either. The following is for your education...

    The requirement that it be a serious crime has actually been around for a while. Most people just have never paid attention to it.

    Please don't offer any more advice on the subject. Arrest, search and seizure is the foundation of police work. You don't need to be passing out bad info, like you know what you're talking about. That could get someone in bad trouble, if they made the poor decision to listen to you.

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  4. tc215


    Jun 30, 2010
    In Kentucky v King, the US Supreme Court made no mention of a requirement for a "serious crime".

    I had a case go to trial in federal court a few months ago. I went to a local hotel to do a knock and talk in reference to a tip about drug activity. I could smell the weed being smoked in the room way before I got to the door. When I knocked, one of the suspects thought I was a customer and opened the door. When he realized I was the police he tried to slam the door on me. I could see another guy running towards the back of the hotel room to where I thought the bathroom was (ended up being the closet).

    I was able to keep him from getting the door shut and my partners and I made entry. Ended up getting consent to search the room and found 4 ounces of crack. The US Attorneys Office ended up taking the case.

    There were 5 defendants, and the ones that didn't plead guilty were found guilty by the jury. At no point did the entry ever come up...The only thing they tried to suppress was the video from the body cam I was wearing. I made entry based on the weed smell and the destruction of evidence, and the US Attorneys Office was good with it and none of the defense attorneys fought it.

    This was in the 6th Circuit, obviously different circuits and states can and do have different opinions.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  5. txleapd

    txleapd Hook 'Em Up

    Aug 27, 2004
    If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Kentucky v King about police-created exigency?

    The defense's argument was that the evidence should be supressed, because the police knocked on the door, and that they created exigency.

    The supremes ruled that a police officer knocking on a door is reasonable, and the police don't create their own exigency when they do that.

    You're right that SCOTUS sets binding case law for the entire country, but case law out of other districts is legal precedence, and considered persuasive when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts.

    Unless the district you're in has already made a binding ruling, legal precedence very much comes into play.

    We have to deal with it all the time.

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  6. tc215


    Jun 30, 2010
    Yes, the exigency for their warrantless entry was based on the likely destruction of evidence, and the defense argued that the police created that exigency by knocking on the door.

    From the decision:

  7. Halfhitch


    May 22, 2001
    Austin Texas
  8. wprebeck

    wprebeck Got quacks?

    Oct 20, 2002
    Mm..looks like heaven
    Ask Dukeboy about KY Vs King - it's his department, he may have further insight.