Kentucky undercover police officers set up a controlled buy of cocaine outside an apartment complex. After the deal took place, uniformed police moved in on the suspect. The suspect ran to a breezeway of an apartment building. As the officers arrived in the area, they heard a door shut. At the end of the breezeway were two apartments, one on the left and one on the right. The officers smelled marijuana smoke emanating from the apartment on the left.
The officers banged on the door as loudly as they could, while yelling “Police!” As soon as the officers started banging on the door, they heard people moving inside and things being moved inside the apartment. These noises led the officers to believe that drug related evidence was about to be destroyed. At that point, the officers kicked in the door and entered the apartment, where they found three people, including Hollis King, his girlfriend, and a guest. The officers saw marijuana and powder cocaine in plain view. A further search turned up crack cocaine, cash, and drug paraphernalia. Police eventually entered the apartment on the right side of the breezeway and found the suspect who was the initial target of their investigation.
King was indicted for criminal violations, including trafficking in marijuana, trafficking in controlled substances, and persistent felony offender status. King filed a motion to have the evidence suppressed as the fruits of an illegal warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The government argued that the search was a valid warrantless search that was justified by exigent circumstances. Is the warrantless search constitutional? Kentucky v. King, 131 S. Ct. 1849, 2011 U. S. Lexis 3541 (Supreme Court of the United States, 2011)

  • CreatedAugust 12, 2015
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