9th Circuit Eviscerates 'Knock and Announce' Warrants
The 9th Circuit has ruled that a "Knock and Announce" warrant means cops can announce and skip the knock. The case is U.S. v. Combs, available here. (pdf) CrimProf blog has the details, and some criticism of the decision.
Rather than knock, the officers loudly announced their presence and their possession of a search warrant from the street via the patrol car's loudspeaker. When no one came to the door, they broke the door down with a battering ram and found the defendants and a meth lab inside. The officers justified their failure to knock, in essence, by explaining that active meth labs can explode, and they did not want to position officers close to the house any longer than they had to.
After analyzing the opinion, Prof. Mark Godsey says,
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