DETROIT, Michigan - January 9 - The national American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil
Liberties Union of Michigan appeared today before the U.S. Supreme Court to
argue that police should not be able to use evidence found in a home if the
officers did not meet the “knock and announce” requirement and therefore entered
the home illegally. The ACLU is representing Booker T. Hudson, a Michigan
“It’s undisputed that the police violated the Fourth Amendment by barging
into Mr. Hudson’s home without ‘knocking and announcing,’” said David A. Moran,
Assistant Professor at Wayne State University Law School and the ACLU
cooperating attorney who argued the case before the Court. “The question is
whether evidence should be suppressed in order to deter the police from
violating the ‘knock and announce’ requirement.”
According to the ACLU, Detroit police broke into Hudson’s home without
knocking and announcing, as required by law. Once inside, the police found
a small quantity of drugs and arrested Hudson for possession, which caused him
to be placed on probation for eighteen months. Hudson's legal attempt to
suppress the evidence found in his home on the basis of the “knock and announce”
violation was denied because of a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that
evidence found after such a violation was not eligible for suppression.
In a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court opinion Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the
Court, stressed that the “knock and announce” requirement protects the dignity
of residents by allowing them a reasonable time to make themselves presentable
before the police enter, and also protects private property by allowing
residents an opportunity to open their door instead of having the doors
destroyed by a police battering ram.
“There is good reason
for the 'knock and announce' requirement,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan
Executive Director. “The courts have always placed a high priority on the
rights of people within their own homes and the Michigan practice makes it too
easy to completely disregard those rights. In our argument today we urge
the Supreme Court to not allow policy to violate those rights with impunity.”
This issue has been disputed in courts across the
country, but the Michigan Supreme Court’s position has been rejected by the
highest state courts in Arkansas and Maryland and by the Sixth and Eighth
Circuit Courts of Appeal. The Michigan Supreme Court's holding has been embraced
by only the Seventh Circuit.
A decision in Hudson v. Michigan is
expected by June 2006.
In addition to Moran and Moss, Hudson is represented by Steven R. Shapiro of
the national ACLU, Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan, Timothy O’Toole
and Richard D. Korn.
To read the brief, go to: www.aclu.org/scotus/2005/21345lgl20050922.html