Kentucky v. King – Good for Utah Police – Bad for Our Liberties

The U.S. Supreme Court Gets It Wrong…Again

On May 16, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court, affectionately referred to as SCOTUS, handed down a decision which surprisingly only had one dissenter, Justice Ginsberg, but which is one of the most controversial decisions this year because it provides Utah police and police throughout the country with expansive powers which trample on the rights and liberties of individuals.

The decision carries the name Kentucky v. King as is likely to go down in history as another Supreme Court case which makes everyone less free and the state police power even more powerful.  In that case police kicked down the door of an apartment after they banged on the door and yelled “police, police, police” and then  heard noises which led them to believe evidence was being destroyed.

Drug Crimes and Exigent Circumstances

In criminal law a warrant is typically required for the police to conduct a search.  Over the years judges have created an exception to that rule: where there is an imminent threat that evidence will be destroyed.  That exception does not apply, however, when the police are the ones who create the imminent threat of destruction of evidence. The Supreme Court took the principle one step further and relied on a rule that a warrantless search is permitted if it is reasonable.

Thus, the Court found that since it was reasonable under the exigent circumstances doctrine for the police to enter the home without a warrant and since the police didn’t create the exigency by their banging on the door and yelling, the search was legal.

Watch Out – Utah Police Empowered and Emboldened

As you can imagine, Utah police throughout the state are going to use this decision to their full advantage.  Now Utah police will kick down doors on the pretext that evidence is being destroyed.  “Oh, I heard noises inside that led me to believe they were destroying evidence.”

This is really going to affect drug possession cases.  Anytime a police officer suspects drugs are inside a home he can technically kick down the door on the exigent circumstances pretext.  Ridiculous.

Salcido Law Firm Up for the Fight

At Salcido Law Firm we are Utah criminal defense lawyers dedicated to fighting state and police tyranny. If you are facing a drug crime or other offense, call us to defend your rights.  801.618.1334.

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