Does the Fedral Exclusionary Rule Apply to Violations of the Knock-And-Announce Requirement ?
In Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586, 165 L. Ed. 2d 56, 126 S. Ct. 2159 (2006), the Supreme Court held, by a five to four vote, that the federal exclusionary rule does not apply to violations of the knock-and-announce requirement.
Justice Scalia's opinion for the majority reasoned that the no-knock rule protected interests separate from those protected by the warrant requirement and that the deterrence value of excluding evidence that was seized only after a facially valid warrant was issued was outweighed by the high social costs of doing so.
The interests protected by the no-knock rule include:
(1) avoiding violence in supposed self-defense by the surprised occupant;
(2) allowing people to comply and avoid the destruction of property occasioned by a forcible entry;
(3) protecting those elements of privacy and dignity that can be destroyed by a sudden entrance. Hudson, 547 U.S. at 594, 165 L. Ed. 2d at 66, 126 S. Ct. at 2165.
However, the knock-and-announce rule has never protected a person's interest in preventing the government from seeing or taking evidence described in a warrant; the interests violated by the way in which a proper warrant is executed have nothing to do with the seizure of the evidence. Hudson, 547 U.S. at 594, 165 L. Ed. 2d at 66, 126 S. Ct. at 2165.
The Court identified what it saw as the high costs of applying the exclusionary rule to knock-and-announce violations.
(1) the difficulty and potential arbitrariness of applying the nebulous requirement of a reasonable waiting time;
(2) the danger that, in erring on the side of caution, officers might wait longer than the law requires before entering, leading to preventable violence or the destruction of evidence. Hudson, 547 U.S. at 595-96, 165 L. Ed. 2d at 66-67, 126 S. Ct. at 2165-66.
Against these costs, the Court saw limited deterrence benefits.
First, the Court reasoned, although violating the warrant requirement sometimes produces incriminating evidence that could not otherwise be obtained, violating the knock-and-announce rule does nothing other than prevent either the destruction of evidence or dangerous resistance by occupants--and even a reasonable suspicion of these dangers is sufficient to suspend the knock-and-announce requirement anyway.
Second, deterrence does not require applying the exclusionary rule, as both civil-rights suits and the increasing professionalism of police forces already provide such deterrence. Hudson, 547 U.S. at 596-99, 165 L. Ed. 2d at 67-69, 126 S. Ct. at 2166-68.