Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Fourth Amendment Case

Jan 13, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Fourth Amendment Case

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week in a case over the rights of police to enter people's houses without a warrant in emergency situations, reports the New York Times.

Arguments in Kentucky v. King center on a case where police were chasing a suspected drug dealer through an apartment complex. Officers allegedly knocked on the door of an apartment they believed the suspect had entered, and when they heard noises inside that they construed as drug-related evidence being destroyed, they kicked down the door.

Although the suspected drug dealer was not in the apartment, its occupants were caught with marijuana and cocaine. The Kentucky Supreme Court disallowed the use of evidence found in the bust, saying that police should not be allowed to use an emergency to justify searches without a warrant if their presence creates the emergency.

Attorneys for the state of Kentucky and the federal government argue that the evidence should be allowed, saying that the police did not violate the Fourth Amendment - which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures - because they had acted lawfully during their entry to the apartment.

According to SCOTUSBlog, 34 states jointly filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting Kentucky in the case.