State v. Johnson

In State v. Johnson (Alaska.Ct.App. 1986) 716 P.2d 1006, the appellate court concluded the trial court had erred in suppressing evidence against two defendants (Robert Johnson and Michael Davey) who were not present when the knock-notice violation occurred. ( Id. at p. 1010.) In explaining its conclusion, the court noted "the purposes of knock and announce requirements are as follows: '(1) to protect the occupant's right to privacy ...; (2) to safeguard the police who might be mistaken for prowlers and be shot ...; and (3) to protect other persons who might be injured by violent resistance to unannounced entries. ...'" ( Id. at p. 1009, quoting Davis v. State (Alaska 1974) 525 P.2d 541, 544-545.) The court then explained: "Since Johnson and Michael Davey were not present, they were not vulnerable to injury as a result of any violent resistance the occupant might have interposed to the officers' entry. Johnson and Michael Davey had the same interest as any other citizen in preventing injury to the police officers. Thus, if the knock and announce rules were intended to protect them, it must be because of the first purpose announced in Davis, protection of the occupant's right to privacy. We assume, for purposes of this case, that Robert Johnson and Michael Davey had privacy interests protected by the fourth amendment in materials stored on the premises. Johnson argues that this privacy interest is identical to the privacy interest protected by the knock and announce rules. We disagree. As the Oregon Supreme Court pointed out in State v. Valentine (1972), 264 Or. 54 504 P.2d 84, cert. denied, 412 U.S. 948 (1973), ' The only right of privacy protected by the announcement requirement is the right to know who is entering, why he is entering, and a few seconds to prepare for his entry.' Id. 504 P.2d at 87. The knock and announce rules are not intended to protect an absent cotenant's possessory and privacy interests in items stored on the premises. The requirement that the police obtain a warrant and limit their search to the scope of the warrant protects these interests. Consequently, since the knock and announce rules were not enacted to protect the rights of those who are not present when a warrant is executed, it necessarily follows that they cannot complain of a violation of those rules." ( State v. Johnson, supra, 716 P.2d at pp. 1009-1010.)