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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What happens when police kick down the wrong door?

We'll soon know, as the US Supreme Court has taken up the case.

From the article:

"The police were looking for a man who fled into an apartment building after selling cocaine to an informant. They heard a door slam in a hallway, but by the time they were able to look down it, they saw only two closed doors.

"They didn't know which one the suspect had gone through, but, smelling the aroma of burnt pot, chose the apartment on the left.

"Their quarry had gone into the apartment on the right. But in King's place, they found one person smoking pot and a small amount of cocaine and money, and arrested King and his friends."

"King pleaded guilty to drug charges, but the Kentucky Supreme Court threw out the evidence against him and the conviction, ruling that the police did not have cause to burst into his home without a warrant."

So, all of this was about drugs? Chalk this travesty up to the drug war then!


  1. I am shocked by this, but I am also surprised that we do not see this occurring more often. It is perfectly legal to barge into a building/residence when you have probable cause, but when the police have no idea which door leads to their suspect, they do not have the right to just pick one and hope for the best. I am surprised that police do not encounter this more often, since they are normally in the heat of the moment, caught up in the chase. Unfortunately, I do not know of a way that this could be prevented, since a law that states it is illegal is already in place. Let's just hope that police stop to think before they barge in on the door they think is right.

  2. Actually they do have the right. It's just that whatever they find cannot be used against you per the Exclusionary Rule.

  3. personally i think its funny. the apartment on the left must have been pisssssed.... however, what did they do afterwards? did they go back for the guy they were originally chasing or did he get away?

  4. The article notes that they did catch the man they wanted in the apartment complex.

    You really think it would be funny for the cops to bust down your door?