, Kentucky v. King :: 563 U.S. 452 (2011) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

Kentucky v. King :: 563 U.S. 452 (2011) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

    USLaw.Site Opinion Summary and Annotations

    Respondent entered a conditional guilty plea to expenses of trafficking in marijuana, first-degree trafficking in a managed substance, and second-degree persistent criminal perpetrator status and appealed the denial of his motion to suppress proof from a warrantless search. At trouble turned into whether the exigent occasions rule carried out when law enforcement officials, by using knocking at the door of a residence and saying their presence, prompted the occupants to try to ruin evidence. The Court held that the exigent circumstances rule applied when the police did now not create the exigency by means of enticing or threatening to interact in behavior that violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court also held that, assuming than an exigency existed in this case, there was no evidence that the officials either violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to do so prior to the factor after they entered the condo. Therefore, the Court reversed and remanded for in addition court cases.

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    OCTOBER TERM, 2010



    certiorari to the ultimate court of kentucky

    No. 09–1272. Argued January 12, 2011—Decided May sixteen, 2011

    Police officers in Lexington, Kentucky, observed a suspected drug supplier to an rental complicated. They smelled marijuana outdoor an condominium door, knocked loudly, and announced their presence. As quickly as the officials began knocking, they heard noises coming from the condominium; the officials believed that these noises have been constant with the destruction of evidence. The officers introduced their cause to go into the condominium, kicked in the door, and discovered respondent and others. They saw tablets in plain view at some point of a protecting sweep of the rental and determined additional evidence for the duration of a next search. The Circuit Court denied respondent’s motion to suppress the evidence, preserving that exigent situations—the need to save you destruction of evidence—justified the warrantless access. Respondent entered a conditional responsible plea, reserving his proper to appeal the suppression ruling, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Kentucky reversed. The court docket assumed that exigent situations existed, but it nevertheless invalidated the hunt. The exigent instances rule did no longer apply, the courtroom held, due to the fact the police must have foreseen that their behavior would activate the occupants to attempt to wreck proof.


       1. The exigent situations rule applies when the police do no longer create the exigency through attractive or threatening to have interaction in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 5–16.

          (a) The Fourth Amendment expressly imposes two requirements: All searches and seizures have to be affordable; and a warrant might not be issued until probable motive is properly established and the scope of the authorized search is about out with particularity. Although “ ‘searches and seizures interior a home with out a warrant are presumptively unreasonable,’ ” Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U. S. 398, 403, this presumption may be triumph over while “ ‘the exigencies of the situation’ make the needs of regulation enforcement so compelling that [a] warrantless seek is objectively reasonable below the Fourth Amendment,” Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 394. One such exigency is the need “to prevent the imminent destruction of proof.” Brigham City, supra, at 403. Pp. five–6.

          (b) Under the “police-created exigency” doctrine, which decrease courts have advanced as an exception to the exigent situations rule, exigent occasions do no longer justify a warrantless search whilst the exigency changed into “created” or “manufactured” through the conduct of the police. The decrease courts have no longer agreed, but, at the test for determining when police impermissibly create an exigency. Pp. 7–8.

          (c) The proper test follows from the principle that lets in warrantless searches: warrantless searches are allowed when the occasions make it affordable, inside the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, to dispense with the warrant requirement. Thus, a warrantless entry based totally on exigent occasions is reasonable while the police did now not create the exigency with the aid of attractive or threatening to have interaction in conduct violating the Fourth Amendment. A comparable method has been taken in different instances related to warrantless searches. For example, officials may capture evidence in simple view in the event that they have now not violated the Fourth Amendment in arriving on the spot from which the observation of the proof is made, see Horton v. California, 496 U. S. 128, 136–140; and they may searching for consent-primarily based encounters if they may be lawfully gift inside the location in which the consensual stumble upon occurs, see INS v. Delgado, 466 U. S. 210, 217, n. 5. Pp. 8–10.

          (d) Some courts, which include the Kentucky Supreme Court, have imposed additional necessities—asking whether officers “ ‘intentionally created the exigent occasions with the awful religion intent to avoid the warrant requirement,’ ” 302 S. W. 3d 649, 656 (case below); reasoning that police might not depend on an exigency if “ ‘it was moderately foreseeable that [their] investigative approaches … could create the exigent situations,’ ”ibid.; faulting officers for knocking on a door once they had sufficient evidence to are looking for a warrant but did no longer achieve this; and locating that officers created or manufactured an exigency when their investigation was opposite to standard or appropriate law enforcement practices. Such requirements are unsound and are hence rejected. Pp. 10–14.

          (e) Respondent contends that an exigency is impermissibly created while officers have interaction in behavior that might cause a reasonable man or woman to accept as true with that entry turned into imminent and inevitable, however that method is likewise unsuitable. The potential of officers to respond to an exigency cannot activate such subtleties because the officers’ tone of voice in pronouncing their presence and the forcefulness in their knocks. A forceful knock may be vital to alert the occupants that someone is at the door, and unless officers discover themselves loudly enough, occupants might not understand who's at their doorstep. Respondent’s check might make it extraordinarily hard for officials to recognize how loudly they will announce their presence or how forcefully they may knock without strolling afoul of the police-created exigency rule. And in most cases, it might be nearly impossible for a courtroom to decide whether or not that threshold had been exceeded. Pp. 14–15.

       2. Assuming that an exigency existed right here, there's no evidence that the officers both violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to achieve this prior to the point once they entered the apartment. Pp. sixteen–19.

          (a) Any query approximately whether or not an exigency existed here is higher addressed by the Kentucky Supreme Court on remand. P. 17.

          (b) Assuming an exigency did exist, the officials’ conduct—banging on the door and announcing their presence—became totally steady with the Fourth Amendment. Respondent has pointed to no evidence supporting his argument that the officers made any type of “demand” to enter the rental, a good deal much less a demand that quantities to a risk to violate the Fourth Amendment. If there's contradictory evidence that has no longer been brought to this Court’s interest, the kingdom court docket may additionally decide on to address that count number on remand. Finally, the record makes clean that the officials’ announcement that they have been going to enter the rental become made after the exigency arose. Pp. 17–19.

    302 S. W. 3d 649, reversed and remanded.

       Alito, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Ginsburg, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

    563 U. S. ____ (2011)

    NO. 09-1272


    on writ of certiorari to the splendid court docket of kentucky

    [May 16, 2011]

       Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court.

       It is nicely hooked up that “exigent situations,” such as the want to save you the destruction of proof, permit cops to conduct an otherwise permissible seek with out first acquiring a warrant. In this case, we remember whether or not this rule applies when police, by way of knocking at the door of a house and announcing their presence, reason the occupants to attempt to destroy proof. The Kentucky Supreme Court held that the exigent circumstances rule does not observe within the case to hand due to the fact the police have to have foreseen that their conduct would prompt the occupants to try and wreck proof. We reject this interpretation of the exigent instances rule. The behavior of the police previous to their entry into the condominium become completely lawful. They did not violate the Fourth Amendment or threaten to achieve this. In this kind of situation, the exigent circumstances rule applies.



       This case issues the search of an apartment in Lexington, Kentucky. Police officers installation a controlled buy of crack cocaine outside an rental complicated. Undercover Officer Gibbons watched the deal take region from an unmarked vehicle in a nearby car parking zone. After the deal took place, Gibbons radioed uniformed officers to transport in on the suspect. He advised the officers that the suspect changed into shifting quickly closer to the breezeway of an condominium building, and he urged them to “hurry up and get there” before the suspect entered an condo. App. 20.

       In response to the radio alert, the uniformed officials drove into the nearby parking zone, left their vehicles, and ran to the breezeway. Just as they entered the breezeway, they heard a door shut and detected a completely strong scent of burnt marijuana. At the end of the breezeway, the officials saw flats, one on the left and one on the proper, and that they did no longer recognise which rental the suspect had entered. Gibbons had radioed that the suspect changed into jogging into the apartment at the right, but the officers did no longer listen this statement because that they had already left their vehicles. Because they smelled marijuana smoke emanating from the rental at the left, they approached the door of that apartment.

       Officer Steven Cobb, one of the uniformed officials who approached the door, testified that the officials banged on the left rental door “as loud as [they] should” and introduced, “ ‘This is the police’ ” or “ ‘Police, police, police.’ ” Id., at 22–23. Cobb said that “[a]s quickly as [the officers] began banging at the door,” they “ought to pay attention people inner transferring,” and “[i]t sounded as [though] things were being moved within the condo.” Id., at 24. These noises, Cobb testified, led the officials to believe that drug-related evidence was approximately to be destroyed.

       At that factor, the officers announced that they “were going to make access in the condo.” Ibid. Cobb then kicked inside the door, the officials entered the apartment, and they observed 3 human beings within the front room: respondent Hollis King, respondent’s lady friend, and a visitor who was smoking marijuana.[Footnote 1] The officers carried out a protective sweep of the apartment all through which they saw marijuana and powder cocaine in simple view. In a subsequent seek, they also found crack cocaine, coins, and drug paraphernalia.

       Police sooner or later entered the rental at the proper. Inside, they discovered the suspected drug provider who become the initial goal in their research.


       In the Fayette County Circuit Court, a grand jury charged respondent with trafficking in marijuana, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and 2nd-diploma chronic legal wrongdoer fame. Respondent filed a motion to suppress the proof from the warrantless seek, however the Circuit Court denied the motion. The Circuit Court concluded that the officials had in all likelihood cause to investigate the marijuana odor and that the officials “properly carried out [the investigation] via to begin with knocking at the door of the condo unit and anticipating the response or consensual access.” App. to Pet. for Cert. 9a. Exigent instances justified the warrantless entry, the court held, because “there was no reaction in any respect to the knocking,” and due to the fact “Officer Cobb heard motion within the apartment which he fairly concluded had been humans inside the act of destroying evidence, particularly narcotics because of the scent.” Ibid. Respondent then entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his proper to attraction the denial of his suppression motion. The courtroom sentenced respondent to 11 years’ imprisonment.

       The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. It held that exigent situations justified the warrantless entry due to the fact the police moderately believed that evidence could be destroyed. The police did now not impermissibly create the exigency, the court explained, because they did not deliberately avoid the warrant requirement.

       The Supreme Court of Kentucky reversed. 302 S. W. 3d 649 (2010). As a initial be counted, the court discovered that there was “in reality a few question as to whether or not the sound of people shifting [inside the apartment] became enough to set up that proof was being destroyed.” Id., at 655. But the court did now not solution that query. Instead, it “anticipate[d] for the cause of argument that exigent situations existed.” Ibid.

       To decide whether or not police impermissibly created the exigency, the Supreme Court of Kentucky announced a two-element test. First, the court held, police cannot “intentionally creat[e] the exigent situations with the horrific religion cause to keep away from the warrant requirement.” Id., at 656 (internal citation marks unnoticed). Second, even absent bad religion, the courtroom concluded, police won't depend on exigent occasions if “it become moderately foreseeable that the investigative techniques hired via the police would create the exigent occasions.” Ibid. (internal quotation marks disregarded). Although the court found no proof of bad religion, it held that exigent situations could not justify the search because it turned into fairly foreseeable that the occupants could ruin evidence whilst the police knocked at the door and introduced their presence. Ibid.

       We granted certiorari. 561 U. S. ___ (2010).[Footnote 2]



       The Fourth Amendment provides:

       “The proper of the human beings to be stable of their humans, homes, papers, and results, in opposition to unreasonable searches and seizures, shall no longer be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, however upon possibly motive, supported by way of Oath or confirmation, and in particular describing the region to be searched, and the humans or things to be seized.”

       The text of the Amendment therefore expressly imposes two requirements. First, all searches and seizures have to be reasonable. Second, a warrant won't be issued except in all likelihood purpose is properly mounted and the scope of the authorized search is about out with particularity. See Payton v. New York, 445 U. S. 573, 584 (1980).

       Although the text of the Fourth Amendment does no longer specify while a seek warrant should be obtained, this Court has inferred that a warrant have to commonly be secured. “It is a ‘primary precept of Fourth Amendment regulation,’ ” we've frequently said, “ ‘that searches and seizures inner a domestic with out a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.’ ” Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U. S. 398, 403 (2006) (quoting Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U. S. 551, 559 (2004)). But we've additionally recognized that this presumption can be overcome in some occasions due to the fact “[t]he final touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness.’ ” Brigham City, supra, at 403; see additionally Michigan v. Fisher, 558 U. S. ___, ___ (2009) (in line with curiam) (slip op., at 2). Accordingly, the warrant requirement is subject to positive reasonable exceptions. Brigham City, supra, at 403.

       One properly-identified exception applies while “ ‘the exigencies of the situation’ make the needs of regulation en-forcement so compelling that [a] warrantless search is objectively reasonable beneath the Fourth Amendment.” Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 394 (1978); see additionally Payton, supra, at 590 (“[T]he Fourth Amendment has drawn a corporation line at the doorway to the house. Absent exigent situations, that threshold may not reasonably be crossed with out a warrant”).

       This Court has identified numerous exigencies which can justify a warrantless search of a domestic. See Brigham City, 547 U. S., at 403. Under the “emergency aid” exception, as an instance, “officers may additionally input a domestic with out a warrant to render emergency help to an injured occupant or to protect an occupant from coming near near damage.” Ibid.; see additionally, e.g., Fisher, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 5) (upholding warrantless domestic entry primarily based on emergency aid exception). Police officials may also enter premises without a warrant whilst they may be in warm pursuit of a fleeing suspect. See United States v. Santana, 427 U. S. 38, forty two–forty three (1976). And—what is applicable here—the need “to save you the imminent destruction of proof” has lengthy been identified as a enough justification for a warrantless seek. Brigham City, supra, at 403; see also Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U. S. 103, 116, n. 6 (2006); Minnesota v. Olson, 495 U. S. ninety one, a hundred (1990).[Footnote 3]


       Over the years, lower courts have advanced an exception to the exigent circumstances rule, the so-known as “police-created exigency” doctrine. Under this doctrine, police might not depend on the need to save you destruction of proof when that exigency become “created” or “synthetic” by way of the behavior of the police. See, e.g., United States v. Chambers, 395 F. 3d 563, 566 (CA6 2005) (“[F]or a warrantless seek to stand, law enforcement officials must be responding to an unanticipated exigency in place of absolutely growing the exigency for themselves”); United States v. Gould, 364 F. 3d 578, 590 (CA5 2004) (en banc) (“[A]lthough exigent occasions may also justify a warrantless possibly cause entry into the house, they will not do so if the exigent occasions have been manufactured through the sellers” (internal quotation marks not noted)).

       In applying this exception for the “creation” or “manufacturing” of an exigency by way of the police, courts require some thing greater than mere evidence that worry of detection via the police induced the destruction of evidence. An additional showing is glaringly needed because, because the Eighth Circuit has identified, “in some experience the police continually create the exigent situations.” United States v. Duchi, 906 F. 2d 1278, 1284 (CA8 1990). That is to say, in the widespread majority of instances in which proof is destroyed via folks who are engaged in unlawful behavior, the cause for the destruction is worry that the proof will fall into the arms of law enforcement. Destruction of proof troubles in all likelihood arise maximum often in drug instances because pills can be without problems destroyed with the aid of flushing them down a lavatory or rinsing them down a drain. Persons in ownership of treasured drugs are unlikely to ruin them except they fear discovery by means of the police. Consequently, a rule that precludes the police from creating a warrantless access to save you the destruction of evidence whenever their behavior reasons the exigency could unreasonably shrink the reach of this nicely-set up exception to the warrant requirement.

       Presumably for the motive of warding off one of these end result, the decrease courts have held that the police-created exigency doctrine requires more than simple causation, but the lower courts have now not agreed on the check to be implemented. Indeed, the petition in this example continues that “[t]right here are presently 5 different tests being utilized by the USA Courts of Appeals,” Pet. for Cert. 11, and that some country courts have crafted additional tests, identity., at 19–20.



       Despite the welter of checks devised by means of the lower courts, the solution to the query offered in this example follows without delay and actually from the principle that lets in warrantless searches inside the first area. As formerly cited, warrantless searches are allowed when the instances make it affordable, within the that means of the Fourth Amendment, to dispense with the warrant requirement. Therefore, the solution to the question before us is that the exigent instances rule justifies a warrantless search whilst the conduct of the police preceding the exigency is reasonable in the identical feel. Where, as here, the police did now not create the exigency by means of engaging or threatening to engage in behavior that violates the Fourth Amendment, warrantless entry to prevent the destruction of evidence is affordable and for this reason allowed.[Footnote 4]

       We have taken a comparable technique in other instances related to warrantless searches. For example, we've held that regulation enforcement officers may also seize proof in simple view, provided that they have no longer violated the Fourth Amendment in arriving at the spot from which the statement of the evidence is made. See Horton v. California, 496 U. S. 128, 136–one hundred forty (1990). As we placed it in Horton, “[i]t is … an crucial predicate to any valid warrantless seizure of incriminating proof that the officer did now not violate the Fourth Amendment in arriving on the region from which the evidence may be it seems that regarded.” Id., at 136. So long as this prerequisite is glad, but, it does not rely that the officer who makes the observation may have gone to the spot from which the evidence turned into seen with the hope of being able to view and seize the evidence. See id., at 138 (“The truth that an officer is interested in an object of evidence and absolutely expects to find it within the path of a seek should not invalidate its seizure”). Instead, the Fourth Amendment requires most effective that the steps previous the seizure be lawful. See identification., at 136–137.

       Similarly, officials may also are seeking for consent-primarily based encounters if they're lawfully gift within the vicinity in which the consensual stumble upon occurs. See INS v. Delgado, 466 U. S. 210, 217, n. five (1984) (noting that officers who entered into consent-primarily based encounters with employees in a manufacturing facility constructing have been “lawfully gift [in the factory] pursuant to consent or a warrant”). If consent is freely given, it makes no distinction that an officer can also have approached the character with the wish or expectation of obtaining consent. See id., at 216 (“While most citizens will reply to a police request, the fact that humans do so, and achieve this with out being instructed they are free no longer to respond, hardly gets rid of the consensual nature of the reaction”).


       Some lower courts have followed a rule this is just like the one that we apprehend nowadays. See United States v. MacDonald, 916 F. 2nd 766, 772 (CA2 1990) (en banc) (law enforcement officers “do not impermissibly create exigent circumstances” when they “act in a wholly lawful manner”); State v. Robinson, 2010 WI eighty, ¶32, 327 Wis. second 302, 326–328, 786 N. W. 2d 463, 475–476 (2010). But others, together with the Kentucky Supreme Court, have imposed extra necessities which can be unsound and that we now reject.

       Bad faith. Some courts, such as the Kentucky Supreme Court, ask whether regulation enforcement officers “ ‘deliberately created the exigent situations with the horrific faith cause to keep away from the warrant requirement.’ ” 302 S. W. 3d, at 656 (quoting Gould, 364 F. 3d, at 590); see additionally, e.g., Chambers, 395 F. 3d, at 566; United States v. Socey, 846 F. 2d 1439, 1448 (CADC 1988); United States v. Rengifo, 858 F. 2nd 800, 804 (CA1 1988).

       This method is essentially inconsistent with our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. “Our cases have repeatedly rejected” a subjective technique, asking most effective whether “the circumstances, viewed objectively, justify the motion.” ’Brigham City, 547 U. S., at 404 (alteration and inner citation marks omitted); see additionally Fisher, 558 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 3–five). Indeed, we've in no way held, out of doors limited contexts consisting of an “inventory seek or administrative inspection … , that an officer’s reason invalidates objectively justifiable conduct beneath the Fourth Amendment.” Whren v. United States, 517 U. S. 806, 812 (1996); see additionally Brigham City, supra, at 405.

       The motives for trying to objective elements, in preference to subjective rationale, are clean. Legal tests based totally on reasonableness are generally objective, and this Court has lengthy taken the view that “evenhanded regulation enforcement is first-class completed by using the application of goal standards of behavior, rather than standards that rely upon the subjective country of thoughts of the officer.” Horton, supra, at 138.

       Reasonable foreseeability. Some courts, once more which includes the Kentucky Supreme Court, maintain that police might not rely on an exigency if “ ‘it was reasonably foreseeable that the investigative strategies employed by means of the police could create the exigent occasions.’ ” 302 S. W. 3d, at 656 (quoting Mann v. State, 357 Ark. 159, 172, 161 S. W. 3d 826, 834 (2004)); see additionally, e.g., United States v. Mowatt, 513 F. 3d 395, 402 (CA4 2008). Courts applying this test have invalidated warrantless home searches on the floor that it turned into reasonably foreseeable that police officers, by means of knocking at the door and saying their presence, might lead a drug suspect to damage evidence. See, e.g., identification., at 402–403; 302 S. W. 3d, at 656.

       Contrary to this reasoning, however, we've rejected the perception that police might also capture evidence with out a warrant only after they come upon the evidence by happenstance. In Horton, as cited, we held that the police may capture proof in simple view despite the fact that the officials may be “interested by an item of evidence and absolutely expec[t] to discover it inside the course of a search.” 496 U. S., at 138.

       Adoption of an affordable foreseeability test could additionally introduce an unacceptable degree of unpredictability. For instance, each time law enforcement officials knock on the door of premises occupied by way of someone who can be involved in the drug change, there is some possibility that the occupants may own tablets and can are trying to find to destroy them. Under an affordable foreseeability check, it might be necessary to quantify the degree of predictability that should be reached before the police-created exigency doctrine comes into play.

       A easy instance illustrates the difficulties that such an approach would produce. Suppose that the officials within the gift case did no longer smell marijuana smoke and for that reason knew only that there has been a 50% risk that the fleeing suspect had entered the rental at the left as opposed to the condo at the proper. Under the ones circumstances, would it have been fairly foreseeable that the occupants of the rental at the left could are trying to find to spoil proof upon studying that the police have been at the door? Or suppose that the officers knew most effective that the suspect had disappeared into one of the apartments on a ground with 3, 5, 10, or maybe 20 gadgets? If the police selected a door at random and knocked for the reason of asking the occupants in the event that they knew a person who match the outline of the suspect, would it were reasonably foreseeable that the occupants might searching for to break evidence?

       We have cited that “[t]he calculus of reasonableness have to encompass allowance for the reality that law enforcement officials are frequently compelled to make split-2nd judgments—in situations which might be worrying, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U. S. 386, 396–397 (1989). The affordable foreseeability test could create unacceptable and unwarranted problems for law enforcement officers who ought to make quick decisions in the field, as well as for judges who might be required to determine after the truth whether the destruction of evidence in response to a knock at the door became moderately foreseeable based on what the officials knew on the time.

       Probable motive and time to steady a warrant. Some courts, in making use of the police-created exigency doctrine, fault regulation enforcement officers if, after obtaining evidence this is enough to establish possibly cause to look unique premises, the officials do no longer are trying to find a warrant but rather knock at the door and are trying to find either to talk with an occupant or to achieve consent to go looking. See, e.g., Chambers, supra, at 569 (bringing up “[t]he failure to are seeking for a warrant within the face of abundant probably cause” as a component indicating that the police intentionally created the exigency).

       This technique unjustifiably interferes with legitimate regulation enforcement techniques. There are many entirely right motives why police won't need to are seeking a search warrant as quickly because the bare minimum of proof had to set up probably reason is obtained. Without trying to offer a comprehensive listing of those motives, we word some.

       First, the police may want to talk with the occupants of a dwelling before identifying whether it's miles profitable to searching for authorization for a search. They might imagine that a quick and simple communique may additionally obviate the need to use for and execute a warrant. See Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U. S. 218, 228 (1973). Second, the police may need to invite an occupant of the premises for consent to look due to the fact doing so is less complicated, quicker, and less burdensome than making use of for a warrant. A consensual search also “can also bring about substantially less inconvenience” and embarrassment to the occupants than a search carried out pursuant to a warrant. Ibid. Third, law enforcement officials might also want to achieve more evidence before filing what might otherwise be taken into consideration a marginal warrant application. Fourth, prosecutors may also want to attend until they gather proof which can justify a seek this is broader in scope than the quest that a judicial officer is probably to authorize primarily based on the evidence then to be had. And finally, in many cases, law enforcement won't want to execute a seek that will divulge the lifestyles of an investigation due to the fact doing so can also intervene with the acquisition of extra proof in opposition to the ones already underneath suspicion or proof approximately extra however as yet unknown individuals in a criminal scheme.

       We have said that “[l]aw enforcement officers are underneath no constitutional responsibility to name a halt to criminal investigation the moment they have the minimal proof to establish probably motive.” Hoffa v. United States, 385 U. S. 293, 310 (1966). Faulting the police for failing to apply for a seek warrant at the earliest feasible time after obtaining possibly purpose imposes a duty this is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.

       Standard or suitable investigative strategies. Finally, a few lower courtroom cases advise that regulation enforcement officers can be found to have created or synthetic an exigency if the courtroom concludes that the route in their investigation changed into “opposite to standard or proper regulation enforcement practices (or to the policies or practices in their jurisdictions).” Gould, 364 F. 3d, at 591. This approach fails to provide clean steering for law enforcement officers and authorizes courts to make judgments on topics that are the province of individuals who are chargeable for federal and state law enforcement organizations.


       Respondent argues for a rule that differs from the ones discussed above, but his rule is also improper. Respondent contends that regulation enforcement officers impermissibly create an exigency when they “interact in behavior that would reason an inexpensive individual to consider that entry is impending and inevitable.” Brief for Respondent 24. In respondent’s view, applicable elements encompass the officers’ tone of voice in saying their presence and the forcefulness of their knocks. But the potential of regulation enforcement officials to respond to an exigency can not turn on such subtleties.

       Police officers can also have a excellent purpose to announce their presence loudly and to knock at the door with a few pressure. A forceful knock can be necessary to alert the occupants that someone is at the door. Cf. United States v. Banks, 540 U. S. 31, 33 (2003) (Police “rapped hard enough at the door to be heard through officers on the returned door” and announced their presence, but defendant “turned into inside the shower and testified that he heard nothing”). Furthermore, until law enforcement officials pick out themselves loudly enough, occupants may not realize who's at their doorstep. Officers are approved—certainly, encouraged—to perceive themselves to residents, and “in lots of circumstances this is purpose for warranty, not pain.” United States v. Drayton, 536 U. S. 194, 204 (2002). Citizens who're startled with the aid of an unexpected knock on the door or with the aid of the sight of unknown humans in plain clothes on their doorstep may be relieved to analyze that those folks are law enforcement officials. Others may also recognize the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to answer the door to the police.

       If respondent’s take a look at have been adopted, it would be extraordinarily hard for law enforcement officials to know how loudly they may announce their presence or how forcefully they will knock on a door without strolling afoul of the police-created exigency rule. And in maximum instances, it'd be almost not possible for a courtroom to determine whether that threshold were handed. The Fourth Amendment does now not require the nebulous and impractical check that respondent proposes.[Footnote 5]


       For these reasons, we conclude that the exigent circumstances rule applies while the police do not benefit entry to premises by an real or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment. This keeping affords sufficient safety for the privateness rights that the Amendment protects.

       When regulation enforcement officers who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door, they do no more than any personal citizen may do. And whether the individual that knocks on the door and requests the opportunity to talk is a police officer or a private citizen, the occupant has no responsibility to open the door or to talk. Cf. Florida v. Royer, 460 U. S. 491, 497–498 (1983). (“[H]e may additionally decline to listen to the questions in any respect and may fit on his manner”). When the police knock on a door but the occupants choose no longer to reply or to speak, “the investigation can have reached a conspicuously low factor,” and the occupants “will have the form of caution that even the maximum elaborate security gadget can't provide.” Chambers, 395 F. 3d, at 577 (Sutton, J., dissenting). And even supposing an occupant chooses to open the door and communicate with the officials, the occupant want not allow the officials to go into the premises and might refuse to reply any questions at any time.

       Occupants who pick out not to face on their constitutional rights however alternatively opt for to try to damage evidence have simplest themselves guilty for the warrantless exigent-instances seek which can turn up.


       We now follow our interpretation of the police-created exigency doctrine to the facts of this example.


       We need no longer decide whether exigent instances existed in this case. Any warrantless access primarily based on exigent situations ought to, of direction, be supported with the aid of a actual exigency. See Brigham City, 547 U. S., at 406. The trial court docket and the Kentucky Court of Appeals determined that there was a actual exigency in this case, however the Kentucky Supreme Court expressed doubt on this problem, staring at that there has been “without a doubt some question as to whether the sound of people transferring [inside the apartment] was sufficient to set up that evidence became being destroyed.” 302 S. W. 3d, at 655. The Kentucky Supreme Court “assum[ed] for the motive of argument that exigent instances existed,” ibid., and it held that the police had impermissibly synthetic the exigency.

       We, too, expect for functions of argument that an exigency existed. We determine only the query on which the Kentucky Supreme Court dominated and on which we granted certiorari: Under what circumstances do police impermissibly create an exigency? Any question approximately whether an exigency clearly existed is higher addressed via the Kentucky Supreme Court on remand. See Kirk v. Louisiana, 536 U. S. 635, 638 (2002) (per curiam) (reversing country-court docket judgment that exigent instances were now not required for warrantless home entry and remanding for state court to decide whether or not exigent occasions have been gift).


       In this situation, we see no evidence that the officers both violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to do so previous to the factor once they entered the rental. Officer Cobb testified without contradiction that the officials “banged at the door as loud as [they] may want to” and introduced both “ ‘Police, police, police’ ” or “ ‘This is the police.’ ” App. 22–23. This behavior changed into entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment, and we're aware about no different proof that could display that the officials both violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to accomplish that (as an example, by using pronouncing that they might destroy down the door if the occupants did no longer open the door voluntarily).

       Respondent argues that the officials “demanded” access to the rental, however he has no longer pointed to any proof inside the document that helps this announcement. He relies on a passing announcement made with the aid of the trial courtroom in its opinion denying respondent’s movement to suppress. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 3a–4a. In recounting the occasions that preceded the hunt, the decide wrote that the officials “banged at the door of the rental on the lower back left of the breezeway identifying themselves as cops and demanding that the door be opened through the persons inside.” Ibid. (emphasis brought and deleted). However, at a later point in this opinion, the choose stated that the officers “to begin with knock[ed] on the door of the rental unit and look forward to[ed] the reaction or consensual entry.” Id., at 9a. This later assertion is consistent with the testimony on the suppression listening to and with the findings of the nation appellate courts. See 302 S. W. 3d, at 651 (The officials “knocked loudly on the returned left apartment door and announced ‘police’ ”); App. to Pet. for Cert. 14a (The officials “knock[ed] at the door and announc[ed] themselves as police”); App. 22–24. There isn't any proof of a “demand” of any sort, a great deal much less a demand that quantities to a threat to violate the Fourth Amendment. If there is contradictory proof that has no longer been added to our interest, the nation courtroom may go with to cope with that count number on remand.

       Finally, respondent claims that the officers “defined to [the occupants that the officers] were going to make entry inside the rental,” identity., at 24, but the file is apparent that the officials did not make this assertion until after the exigency arose. As Officer Cobb testified, the officials “knew that there has been probable something that become going to be destroyed in the rental,” and “[a]t that point, … [they] defined … [that they] had been going to make entry.” Ibid. (emphasis added). Given that this assertion changed into made after the exigency arose, it couldn't have created the exigency.

    *  *  *

       Like the court docket underneath, we assume for functions of argument that an exigency existed. Because the officers in this example did now not violate or threaten to violate the Fourth Amendment previous to the exigency, we keep that the exigency justified the warrantless search of the rental.

       The judgment of the Kentucky Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for in addition complaints now not inconsistent with this opinion.

    It is so ordered.

    Footnote 1

     Respondent’s girlfriend leased the condominium, but respondent stayed there part of the time, and his baby lived there. Based on these statistics, Kentucky conceded in nation court that respondent has Fourth Amendment standing to project the quest. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 7a; see additionally 302 S. W. 3d 649, 652 (Ky. 2010).

    Footnote 2

     After we granted certiorari, respondent filed a movement to brush aside the petition as improvidently granted, which we denied. 562 U. S. ___ (2010). Respondent’s most important argument become that the case changed into moot because, after the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed his conviction, the Circuit Court dismissed the prices against him. Respondent’s argument is foreclosed by means of United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, 462 U. S. 579, 581, n. 2 (1983). As we explained in Villamonte-Marquez, our reversal of the Kentucky Supreme Court’s selection “might reinstate the judgment of conviction and the sentence entered” by the Circuit Court. Ibid. The absence of an indictment does no longer trade matters. See ibid. (“Upon respondents’ conviction and sentence, the indictment that turned into again towards them become merged into their convictions and sentences”).

    Footnote three

     Preventing the destruction of evidence may justify shelling out with Fourth Amendment necessities in different contexts. See, e.g., Richards v. Wisconsin, 520 U. S. 385, 395–396 (1997) (failure to comply with the knock-and-announce requirement became justified because “the occasions … display[ed] that the officers had a reasonable suspicion that [a suspect] might smash proof if given similarly possibility to do so”); Schmerber v. California, 384 U. S. 757, 770–771 (1966) (warrantless checking out for blood-alcohol content became justified based on potential destruction of proof); cf. United States v. Banks, 540 U. S. 31, 37–40 (2003) (15 to twenty seconds changed into an inexpensive time for officers to wait after knocking and saying their presence in which there has been a hazard that suspect would get rid of cocaine).

    Footnote 4

     There is a sturdy argument to be made that, at the least in maximum occasions, the exigent occasions rule should not apply in which the police, with out a warrant or any legally sound foundation for a warrantless access, threaten that they'll enter with out permission unless admitted. In this case, however, no such real risk was made, and therefore we haven't any want to attain that query.

    Footnote 5

     Contrary to respondent’s argument, see Brief for Respondent thirteen–18, Johnson v. United States, 333 U. S. 10 (1948), does not require affirmance in this situation. In Johnson, officials observed the smell of burning opium emanating from a inn room. They then knocked at the door and demanded access. Upon on the grounds that Johnson turned into the most effective occupant of the room, they placed her under arrest, searched the room, and determined opium and drug paraphernalia. Id., at 11.

    Defending the legality of the quest, the Government tried to justify the warrantless seek of the room as a legitimate search incident to a lawful arrest. See Brief for United States in Johnson v. United States, O. T. 1947, No. 329, pp. 13, 16, 36. The Government did no longer contend that the officials entered the room in order to save you the destruction of evidence. Although the officers said that they heard a “ ‘shuffling’ ” noise inside the room when they knocked on the door, 333 U. S., at 12, the Government did no longer claim that this particular noise became a noise that could have led an inexpensive officer to think that proof changed into about to be destroyed. Thus, Johnson is truely not a case approximately exigent occasions. See identification., at 14–15 (noting that if “exquisite instances” existed—for instance, if a “suspect turned into fleeing or in all likelihood to take flight” or if “proof or contraband was threatened with removal or destruction”—then “it may be contended that a magistrate’s warrant for seek may be allotted with”).

    563 U. S. ____ (2011)
    NO. 09-1272


    on writ of certiorari to the preferrred court of kentucky

    [May 16, 2011]

       Justice Ginsburg, dissenting.

       The Court nowadays hands the police with a manner mechanically to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug instances. In lieu of supplying their evidence to a impartial magistrate, police officers can also now knock, concentrate, then wreck the door down, nevermind that they'd adequate time to achieve a warrant. I dissent from the Court’s reduction of the Fourth Amendment’s force.

        The Fourth Amendment guarantees to the humans “[t]he right … to be steady in their … houses … against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Warrants to look, the Amendment in addition instructs, shall difficulty simplest upon a showing of “in all likelihood motive” to accept as true with criminal hobby is afoot. These complementary provisions are designed to make certain that police will are searching for the authorization of a impartial Justice of the Peace before mission a seek or seizure. Exceptions to the warrant requirement, this Court has explained, must be “few in number and thoroughly delineated,” if the principle rule is to remain hardy. United States v. United States Dist. Court for Eastern Dist. of Mich., 407 U. S. 297, 318 (1972); see Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 31 (2001).

       This case includes a main exception to the warrant requirement, the exception relevant in “exigent occasions.” See ante, at 6–7. “[C]arefully delineated,” the exception need to govern only in real emergency situations. Circumstances qualify as “exigent” while there may be an coming near near chance of demise or severe harm, or risk that evidence might be immediately destroyed, or that a suspect will get away. Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U. S. 398, 403 (2006). The query presented: May police, who ought to pause to benefit the approval of a impartial Justice of the Peace, dispense with the need to get a warrant by using themselves creating exigent instances? I might answer no, as did the Kentucky Supreme Court. The urgency should exist, I might rule, whilst the police come on the scene, now not next to their arrival, prompted by way of their own conduct.


       Two pillars of our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence have to have controlled the Court’s ruling: First, “on every occasion practical, [the police must] obtain enhance judicial approval of searches and seizures via the warrant process,” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, 20 (1968); 2d, unwarranted “searches and seizures internal a home” endure heightened scrutiny, Payton v. New York, 445 U. S. 573, 586 (1980). The warrant requirement, Justice Jackson discovered, ranks a few of the “essential distinctions among our shape of presidency, in which officials are un- der the regulation, and the police-country in which they're the regulation.” Johnson v. United States, 333 U. S. 10, 17 (1948). The Court has thus declared warrantless searches, inside the important, “according to se unreasonable.” Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 390 (1978); see also Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U. S. 551, 559 (2004). “[T]he police endure a heavy burden,” the Court has cautioned, “whilst attempting to display an urgent need that might justify warrantless searches.” Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U. S. 740, 749–750 (1984).

       That heavy burden has now not been carried right here. There became little danger that drug-related evidence could had been destroyed had the police behind schedule the search pending a Justice of the Peace’s authorization. As the Court acknowledges, “[p]ersons in possession of treasured capsules are unlikely to wreck them unless they worry discovery via the police.” Ante, at eight. Nothing within the file shows that, previous to the knock at the rental door, the occupants had been worried approximately police proximity.

       In no area does the Fourth Amendment practice with extra force than in our houses, our maximum private area which, for centuries, has been appeared as “ ‘entitled to special protection.’ ” Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U. S. 103, one hundred fifteen, and n. 4 (2006); Minnesota v. Carter, 525 U. S. eighty three, ninety nine (1998) (Kennedy, J., concurring). Home intrusions, the Court has stated, are certainly “the chief evil against which … the Fourth Amendment is directed.” Payton, 445 U. S., at 585 (internal citation marks unnoticed); see Silverman v. United States, 365 U. S. 505, 511 (1961) (“At [the Fourth Amendment’s] very core stands the proper of a person to retreat to his own home and there be loose from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”). “ ‘[S]earches and seizures interior a home with out a warrant are [therefore] presumptively unreasonable.’ ” Brigham City, 547 U. S., at 403 (quoting Groh, 540 U. S., at 559). How “stable” do our houses stay if police, armed without a warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on listening to sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of illegal activity?


       As above stated, to justify the police pastime in this situation, Kentucky invoked the once-guarded exception for emergencies “in which the put off necessary to attain a warrant … threaten[s] ‘the destruction of proof.’ ” Schmerber v. California, 384 U. S. 757, 770 (1966) (quoting Preston v. United States, 376 U. S. 364, 367 (1964)). To in shape inside this exception, “police action literally should be [taken] ‘now or in no way’ to preserve the proof of the crime.” Roaden v. Kentucky, 413 U. S. 496, 505 (1973).

       The lifestyles of a authentic emergency relies upon no longer only at the state of necessity on the time of the warrantless seek; it depends, first and major, on “moves taken by way of the police preceding the warrantless seek.” United States v. Coles, 437 F. 3d 361, 367 (CA3 2006). See additionally United States v. Chambers, 395 F. 3d 563, 565 (CA6 2005) (“[O]fficers need to are searching for a warrant primarily based on likely cause after they believe in advance they may locate contraband or proof of a criminal offense.”). “[W]asting a clean possibility to gain a warrant,” consequently, “disentitles the officer from counting on next exigent situations.” S. Saltzburg & D. Capra, American Criminal Procedure 376 (eighth ed. 2007).

       Under an appropriately reined-in “emergency” or “exigent instances” exception, the result in this example should not be unsure. The target of the research’s access into the building, and the smell of marijuana seeping under the condominium door into the hallway, the Kentucky Supreme Court rightly decided, gave the police “in all likelihood purpose … enough … to obtain a warrant to look the … condo.” 302 S. W. 3d 649, 653 (2010). As that courtroom found, nothing made it impracticable for the police to publish officers on the premises at the same time as proceeding to reap a warrant authorizing their entry. Id., at 654. Before this Court, Kentucky does not urge in any other case. See Brief for Petitioner 35, n. thirteen (declaring “[i]t must be of no significance whether or not police may want to have acquired a warrant”).

       In Johnson, the Court faced this situation: status out of doors a inn room, the police smelled burning opium and heard “a few shuffling or noise” coming from the room. 333 U. S., at 12 (internal citation marks omitted). Could the police input the room without a warrant? The Court spoke back no. Explaining why, the Court stated:

    “The right of officers to thrust themselves right into a domestic is … a grave subject, now not handiest to the individual but to a society which chooses to live in reasonable safety and freedom from surveillance. When the proper of privateness must fairly yield to the right of seek is, mainly, to be determined by a judicial officer, no longer a policeman … .

    .     .     .     .     .

       “If the officials in this situation have been excused from the constitutional obligation of imparting their proof to a Justice of the Peace, it is hard to consider [any] case wherein [a warrant] have to be required.” Id., at 14–15.

    I agree, and might no longer allow an expedient knock to override the warrant requirement. Instead, I could accord that center requirement of the Fourth Amendment complete recognize. When viable, “a warrant ought to typically be secured,” the Court recognizes. Ante, at 5. There is each cause to finish that securing a warrant became absolutely possible in this example, and no cause to settlement the Fourth Amendment’s dominion.

     The Court in Johnson was knowledgeable that “while [the officer] knocked on [Johnson’s] door the ‘first element that naturally struck [her]’ was to conceal the opium and the equipment for smoking it.” See Brief for United States in Johnson v. United States, O. T. 1947, No. 329, p. 17, n. 6. Had the Government in Johnson entreated that the “shuffling or noise” indicated proof become at danger, would the result have changed? Justice Jackson’s reputation of the primacy of the warrant requirement indicates not. But see ante, at 15, n. five (distinguishing Johnson at the floor that the Government did now not contend “that the officials entered the room for you to prevent the destruction of evidence”).

    Oral Argument - January 12, 2011
    Opinion Announcement - May 16, 2011
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