Police officers in Lexington, Kentucky, put forward a plan to arrest crack cocaine users outside an apartment. The undercover police officer monitoring the operation radioed his fellow police officers to go after the suspect, whom he explained was moving towards a certain breezeway. The police officers responded to the alert and heard a door shut, but two apartments were towards the end of the roofed outdoor passage on either side. They had not heard the undercover police officer explain and identify the apartment the suspect had gone into since they were out of their cars by then. The officers detected a smell of marijuana coming from the apartment, and they reasonably decided to approach it, where they forcefully entered after announcing their presence. They detected a movement, which made them believe that the occupants were about to tamper with the evidence. In the apartment, they found Hollis King and two other individuals, as well as marijuana, crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.
Hollis King was charged with trafficking marijuana, a controlled substance, by a Kentucky grand jury. He then proposed a proposal to prevent the evidence from being used since the police found that it did not have a warrant, but the trial court did not grant his proposal. King, therefore, pleaded guilty but reserved the right to appeal his motion to remove the evidence against him. The Court of Appeals concurred with the lower court’s ruling claiming that the circumstances present justified the entry without a warrant since the police were of the conviction that the evidence would be compromised. However, the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the ruling claiming that the circumstances in question could not justify a warrantless search. The judgement was important because it gave precedence to Payton v. New York. In this case, the Supreme Court struck the statute providing warrantless entries (Payton v. New York. 445 U.S. 573).
Does the fourth amendment rule, which forbid the use of unlawfully obtained evidence in special circumstances, still holds when legal police actions brought about the circumstance?
The Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the ruling because they believed that the circumstances in question could not justify a warrantless search since the actions of the police by knocking and declaring their presence would reasonably create the circumstance, which is the destruction of evidence.
Kentucky v. King. 131 S. Ct. 1849. U. S LEXIS 3541.Supreme Court of the United States.2011
Payton v. New York. 445 U.S. 573.Supreme Court of the United States.1980