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Is That The Smell of Evidence Being Destroyed?

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The requirements of a police officer obtaining an impartial Court ordered search warrant have become a little blurred. It will be easier for the police to decide not to obtain a search warrant when they themselves deem that they have probable cause to believe drugs may be in a home. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that when the police think they smell marijuana coupled with the sounds of what they believe could be the destruction of evidence, is reason enough for them to gain forced entry into a home without a search warrant while claiming probable cause and exigent circumstances. Overturning a ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court in Kentucky v. King, No. 09–1272 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the police had the right to break in to an apartment. Upon following an alleged drug dealer into an apartment building, the police in pursuit could not determine which apartment their suspect had entered. The officers smelled marijuana smoke coming from one door, and wrongly assumed that he had entered that one. They then knocked and announced their presence and heard the sound of people moving. At this, the officers announced they were coming in and broke down the door. The police claimed they had reasonable suspicion and probable cause for the entry due to the smell of marijuana. Reasonable suspicion is determined by balancing the need of a warrantless search against the intrusion a search creates concerning the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment reads in part, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses…against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” (U.S. Constitution.net, n.d.). The Fourth Amendments requirement of probable... ... middle of paper ... ...ay have had reasonable suspicion, but not probable cause that there is destruction of evidence. The Supreme Court was wrong to allow an exigency argument to be used in this case. Works Cited DeLeo, J. (2006). Glossary. The student's guide to understanding constitutional law (p. 267). Clifton Park, N.Y: Thomson Delmar Learning. Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10 (1948). Kentucky v. King, No. 09–1272 (2011). Legal Definition of 'Exigent Circumstances'. (n.d.). The 'Lectric Law Library's Entrance & Welcome. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://www.lectlaw.com/def/e063.htm. Mincey v. Arizona, 437- U.S. 385, 394 (1978). U.S. Constitution - Amendment 4 - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net. Index Page - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net. Retrieved December 12, 2011, from http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html.
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