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Major Lesson Plan: Supreme Court 2006

Jack Ryan

Target Audience: Law Enforcement personnel who may be faced with the task of legal decisions relating to operations.

Objective: Provide officers with essential knowledge of the law as announced by the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2005-2006 term (NOTE: See previous issue for additional cases) .

Format: Roll-call/ supervisory training.

Time: Five to ten minutes, but this may be expanded where agency resources allow.

Materials: Law Enforcement Risk Management Legal Update.

Note: Officers should be encouraged to read the article in this update either before or after this roll-call training.

Hypothetical # 1:

Officers respond to a loud party call, believed to involve underage persons at a residence. The officers knock at the door, at which time the music is lowered but no one answered.

Question #1:

May the officers enter the home, on their own, under the exigent circumstance entry?

Answer #1: No-there is no facts supporting that there is danger to a person inside the home.

Hypothetical #2

While the officers are waiting for a response to the door they see, through the uncovered front window, a physical scuffle in the living room.

Question #2

May the officers enter under the exigent circumstance exception to the warrant requirement?

Answer #2 Yes, where an officer’s personal observations or reliable information would lead a reasonable officer to conclude that ongoing violence is occurring in a residence, officers may enter without a warrant under the exigency exception to the warrant requirement.

Question #3

Are the officers required to knock and announce themselves when using the exigent entry exception?

Answer #3 Yes, unless one of the exceptions to the knock and announce rule apply, officers must knock and announce prior to entry.

Hypothetical # 4

Assuming the officers should have knocked and announced but failed to so; would subsequently discovered contraband from the house be admissible in a subsequent prosecution of people from the home for possession of the contraband?

Answer: Yes, the exclusionary rule does not apply to violations of the knock and announce rule, however officers are subject to civil liability for this violation as well as internal department discipline.

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