Hudson v. Michigan
547 U. S. 586 (2006)

Police obtained a valid warrant to enter the home of Booker T. Hudson in search of drugs and weapons. When executing the search warrant, officers violated Michigan’s “knock and announce” rule, which requires that they announce their presence and wait 15-20 seconds before making a forced entry. Following the search, Hudson was arrested for possessing cocaine and a gun. He argued that the evidence should be suppressed because officers violated his 4th Amendment rights by conducting an improper entry.

The Supreme Court ruled that evidence need not be suppressed if officers violate the “knock and announce” rule when executing a search warrant. In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Scalia, the Court ruled that exclusion of evidence is an inappropriately harsh remedy for entering a suspect’s home too hastily. In so doing, the Court overturned 4th Amendment precedent regarding the admissibility of evidence obtained during the course of a “knock and announce” violation.

What you should know about Hudson:

Hudson v. Michigan is representative of the Court’s continuing departure from applying the exclusionary rule as a mean of deterring police misconduct. Justice Scalia’s opinion describes the “new professionalism” of modern police departments, falsely equating the rise of improved police accountability mechanisms with actual reductions in police misconduct. The unfortunate truth is that police misconduct remains routine in many departments and few legal remedies are available to the victims of bad policing.

Though dissappointing, the ruling only applies to situations in which police violate entry requirements when executing a search warrant. There remain many situations in which legal violations by police will result in the suppression of evidence. Always consult an attorney if your property is searched by police, whether or not an arrest was made. Click here for more information on responding to police misconduct.