Woven into the western world's legal fabric by English courts over four centuries ago, the knock-and-announce rule requires law enforcement officials to knock at a residence and announce their presence prior to executing a search warrant. Recently, the efficacy of this law enforcement restriction and essential civil right has been challenged by various United States courts. On June 15, 2006, the United States Supreme Court eviscerated an essential remedy for violation of this rule, and last year, the Eighth Circuit's decision in Doran v. Eckold diminished the threshold for permissible no-knock entries. These decisions have eroded the constitutional protection the Supreme Court previously established. This protection is provided by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which defends "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." To this end, the Supreme Court incorporated the common law knock-and-announce rule into its Fourth Amendment analysis of what constitutes "unreasonable searches" of residences. The court acknowledged that exigent circumstances, such as disposal of evidence or danger to law enforcement officials, may eliminate this requirement of officers to knock-andannounce their presence. However, the Court neglected to offer guidance for determining the existence of these circumstances. The English Circuit has conducted this exigent cirumstances analysis on numerous occassions. Without specific guidance, the Eighth Circuit has followed the Supreme Court's general framework for conducting this analysis: a case-by-case examination of the "totality of the circumstance." In Doran v. Eckhold, however, the Eighth Circuit's exigent circumstances analysis resembed a generalized, not particularized, evaluation of the facts. This Note argues that this manner of generalized evaluation, prohibited by the Supreme Court in Richards v. Wisconsin, creates an unacceptable standard for police conduct.
Mitchell E. Kempker,
Knock-and-Announce Rule: An Illusory Hurdle or a Legitimate Law Enforcement Limitation, The,
71 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol71/iss3/6